Our pasts lurk behind us, filled with things we might not want to remember, but they’ll never be forgotten. Karen White’s The Night The Lights Went Out follows two women, generations apart, who each have secrets in their past that are resurfacing.
Merilee Dunlap has moved with her two children to Sweet Apple, Georgia after divorcing her husband and his infidelity. In her new home, a cottage being rented out by 93 year old Sugar Prescott, Merilee finds that starting her life over again will have its challenges, particularly with an anonymous blogger making observations and airing the hidden secrets of residents, but in making new friends with the moms at her children’s new school, she’s not in it alone. As Sugar finds herself connecting with Merilee, against her initial wishes, she tells stories of Sweet Apple when she was young, allowing Merilee to see the town and the women she’s becoming friends with in a new light.
The development of the friendship and story sharing between Merilee and Sugar seemed natural and worked quite well to build their characters and move the story forward. I enjoyed the southern words of wisdom that were provided in the blog entries, as they helped to provide some levity to the otherwise relatively heavy stories being shared. The narrative was an incredibly slow burn, with the culmination as a rapid flash; however, there were plenty of details that were practically bashed upside the head of the reader to point to the culprits, removing a thrill at finally “finding out” who was behind everything.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.