The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti
My own copy
Where did they come from? Why did they fall?
In a quiet town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community. Beloved coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a student, Lucia Hamm. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are having an affair, throwing the town into an uproar and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life. And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only have one suspect: Nate.
Nate’s coworker, Bridget Harris, is determined to prove his innocence. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of the missing girl’s journal.
‘Alecia forgot what that was like, to have friends who were just people’
The novel opens in May 2015, two weeks before the birds fall. The time line then moves around to give a greater understanding of the characters and further depth into the incidents before and after the birds fell. It is an intense novel, with emotive themes.
I became engrossed in the plot line, as I read further on.
Nate and Alecia Winters are the married couple at the centre of the scandal, with Nate accused of an affair with a student. But Alecia is not without her character depth either. She is an isolated and lonely mother to the couples 5yr old autistic son Gabe. As mother of an autistic son, I can assure you the isolation, loneliness and shunning are 100% REAL!
‘Sometimes it seemed like it was Alecia and Gabe against the whole world’
The missing student at the centre of the accusations/claims Lucia, is a mysterious student experiencing great hardship and poverty. Lucia is a student in crisis, Did Nate help her? or take advantage of her situation?
We learn that the Winter’s family life is extremely complex. With Alecia shouldering the majority of the parental duties and Nate being responsible for financing the multiple therapies Gabe requires. It is easy to see this marriage being torn apart by the sheer stress of raising a special needs child, let alone the accusations of the local town.
‘Nate was the last person to see her’
Nate denies the allegations against him and insists there was no affair. But when he is suspended from his teaching position the gossip and speculation only intensifies.
‘There was a missing piece something that no one knew’
Is Nate the perpetrator? Or are the cops making him suspect #1?
The middle part of the novel is much slower paced.
But the novel in whole deals with some tough themes.
Themes of abuse, neglect and bullying.
When does it ever end, if people continue to up the ante? 4*
***Review coming soon for, In Her Bones***