The Wild Birds by Emily Strelow

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Release Date: March 13, 2018

This novel is a collection of stories that are all connected by a silver box that holds egg shells from birds. The box is held by many people during its’ century-long journey.  One holder is Olive who was given the box in 1870 while her mother was ill. After her death, she travels to San Francisco to live with her aunt.    When she arrives her aunt can’t be found and she needs to raise funds to live. She disguises herself as a boy for safety and to avoid undesirable choices for young women. She soon finds work as a male at a lighthouse on the Farallon Islands.

A central part of the series takes place in modern times and details the complex mother-daughter relationship between Lily and Alice. Lily is fifteen and is upset that her mother will not disclose information about her biological father despite her constant pleading. At the same time, Lily grows tired of her mother’s bad choice of boyfriends and resents her constant drinking. To avoid the fighting she decides to break away from her mother for a few months. Alice continues to move through various relationships until one of her friends gifts her a beautiful silver box.  

The Wild Birds weaves together various characters and stories over time. They are all interesting and it’s fun to watch the connections evolve.  This beautifully written novel is a debut by Emily Strelow and I look forward to more works from this author.

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