The book for review is “The Painted Table” by Suzanne Field. It falls in the genre of fiction, Christian and general.
The book starts in North Dakota with a large Norwegian family trying to make a living out of the harsh prairie. Knute, the patriarch, is a hard-working man who expects a lot out of his children. It doesn’t help he has only two boys, something he complains about constantly.
We move on to Joann ,one of the children and her life. She is now married with one child, her husband working hard to keep his family provided for. It’s war-time now and he is soon drafted leaving behind his wife, daughter and a child on the way.
As the years go by, Joann’s state of mind fluctuates from decent to derange and all in between. The table that use to belong to the family has been passed down to her. She doesn’t want it. Over the years Joann paints the table multiple times trying to erase the demons in her head and from the past.
As Joann’s young daughters Saffee and April grow up the family unit is anything but normal and loving. It all depends on the mood swings from their mother. The two girls can’t wait to leave once they graduate high school.
Again time passes and Saffee is now married. Her mother is in and out of a mental institution, the table now belongs to her. She also doesn’t want it. There’s no good memories from the it. Her husband convinces her to sand it down and maybe after the layers are removed Saffee’s pain and sorrow will be dealt with and she will be able to move on. She is not so sure. Her grandmother had suffered from mental illness and so had her mother, was she next? Can Saffee break out of the shell that she has drawn around her self and become the woman and wife her mother never was?
This book is divided into dates and places which I really did like. Our characters are well-developed as they encompass the good and bad of family life and living with someone who is mentally ill. It is not pretty and the author does not shy from that. The pace is really good and I had problems putting it down. A good read.