Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

By Carla Buckley

About The Book:
How far would you go to protect your family?
Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.

A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying–and failing–to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to America’s heartland.

And it is killing fifty out of every hundred people it touches.

As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home–with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses’ safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear.
Carla Buckley’s poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

About The Author:
Carla Buckley is the debut author of The Things That Keep Us Here (Delacorte Press, February 2010.) She was born in Washington, D.C., attended Oberlin College and The Wharton School for Business, and has worked in a variety of jobs, including a stint as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. senator, an analyst with the Smithsonian Institution, and a technical writer for a defense contractor. Orion in the UK and Wunderlich in Germany pre-empted rights to The Things That Keep Us Here and Buckley’s next book, and Random House has purchased audio rights. She is the Chair of the International Thriller Writers Debut Program and currently lives in Ohio with her husband and children. She can be reached at www.CarlaBuckley.com, on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/carla.buckley), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/CarlaBuckley.)

My Thoughts:  
PREPARE TO BE TOUCHED! I couldn't read this book in one sitting because the emotions it invoked were too strong. I had to step away and think about what was happening, adjust my own emotional response so that I could return with the unbiased thought processes of a book reviewer. So it took me three sessions to complete The Things that Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley. 

Carla Buckley does a superb job of putting her readers smack in the middle of a life-shattering pandemic. We experience this through the eyes of Ann Brooks, her two children, and estranged husband. An ordinary family, too much like our own to be comfortable. But comfort is not what this book is about. It raises all the hard questions, the impossible decisions we hope we never have to make, and the tragedy, despair, and strength of the human spirit. This is not a cozy read! It will raise goosebumps and cast an unwelcome light on those fears we keep hidden away in the recesses of our hearts and minds. 
If there was a down side to this read for me, it was that some of the questions raised by the author seemed left unanswered, some situations unexplained. But then maybe that is what the author intended. After all, life never wraps itself into neat, tidy packages we can all store away and forget...

A complimentary advance reader copy was provided by the author


  1. Pump Up Your Book Promotion is doing an excellent job of getting exposure for this amazing novel. I've seen it so many places that I now feel I cannot live without reading it. It sounds like it grabs and holds tight to the reader's attention--just my cup of tea. Congratulations, Carla! I've heard nothing but raves!

    Linda Thieman
    blog at katieandkimble dot com

  2. Hi Linda,
    I hope you will try this story. It is riveting. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

  3. Oh I loved this one...it was such a great read!