After reading just the first couple pages of Seré Prince Halverson's debut novel, The Undersideof Joy, I was completely and utterly hooked on it!
Halverson does a phenomenal job of submerging the reader into the story by painting a peaceful and serene portrait of North California’s majestic redwoods as well as the rest of the scenery surrounding the fictitious town of Elbow, which is the setting of the story. As I journeyed along with Ella Beane, the main character, on her path towards finding healing and happiness once more after the tragic death of her husband, I could feel her pain, heartache and loneliness through the eloquent wording in which her tale of finding renewed hope was encased.
Halverson truly brought the character of Ella to life for the reader even to the point where my heart physically ached as I read the details of her painful realization that her husband was gone, never to return again, and she was left to suffer alone while uncovering deep secrets her husband left behind. I also found myself rejoicing with her, as though she were an old friend I’d known for years, when her hope and joy had finally been restored in the final paragraphs of her story, which was written in first person.
This is a novel that I think all women would enjoy. Regardless of whether or not Ella can be related to on a surface level, the pain, sorrow, and ultimately the joy she faces are deep emotions that are embedded in everyone.
Warning: once you start reading the first paragraphs you will not be able to let this book out of your grasp!