The Days When Birds Come Back Summary and Reviews

The Days When Birds Come Back

by Deborah Reed

The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed X
The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 9, 2018
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

An emotionally searing novel of second chances from an author whose "gorgeous and wise prose" (Cheryl Strayed) will stay with you long after you're done.

June is undoubtedly in transition. Reeling from her divorce, trying to stay sober, and faced with a completely stalled career, she's recently returned to the beautiful Oregon coast where she grew up. She must decide what to do with her late and much-loved grandparents' charming cedar-shingled home, a place haunted by memories of her childhood. 

June hires Jameson to renovate the old house to sell. He too is unmoored as he struggles to redefine his marriage in the aftermath of tragic loss. Over the course of the summer, their conversations about the house quickly turn to the personal—of secrets hidden in walls and of stories from the past half-told. June and Jamison repel and attract, sensing kinship and shying away from hurt. But what can the future hold as long as the past's grip remains so firm? 

Brimming with empathy, The Days When Birds Come Back, like the house itself, is a graceful testament to endurance, rebuilding, and the possibilities of coming home.

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Reviews

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Patricia W. (Homewood, AL)

Excellent writing!!
This is a wonderful book. Although the main characters are working through grief, their healing is phenomenal. The story reminds us to look at the small things in our days for joy, such as watching a bird take a bath in a makeshift birdbath or a baby seal napping on the shore until the tide returns him to his mother. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and it is not through any of their fault. Life can change in an instant. It's not what happens to us, but how we live through it and how it affects our lives and those who know us. From feeling alone and hopeless, we can learn that we are not the only ones who have suffered loss and with time, things do change and hopefully it is better..

June is trying to survive a drinking problem and divorce when she returns to her home after the death of her grandparents. When she hires Jameson to help her to restore their home, the story begins to build. Between the two of them there is a world of heartache, but as they begin to open up to each other they begin to see a hope and healing take place. While there is an attraction, too, Jameson is married and still in love with his wife. He is just not sure he can be what Sarah Anne desires from him.

I would recommend this book to book clubs. It has a lot of discussions ready for review.

Rosemary S. (Somers, NY)

Enjoyable, Easy Read by an Excellent Author
This book surprised me in many ways. First, I read the book without looking at the synopsis on the back cover so had no clue what it was about or what to expect. There were times I thought one of the characters might turn into a very dark, crazy, evil person. The next minute I would be enthralled by the empathy and compassion of the same character. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to keep reading until everything would be revealed. I liked the way the chapters went back and forth between the two main character's lives . Each chapter gave small hints that there was much more to learn about their past with possible hidden secrets. I loved her descriptions of the Oregon coast and wildlife intermingled in the chapters.

This book is about rebuilding and reshaping a life after the unthinkable happens. It is heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking. I highly recommend for adults and book clubs. I know I will be checking out this author's other novels.

Dorinne D. (Wickenburg, AZ)

Learning to Live with Tragedy
What an interesting story! Deborah Reed beautifully describes the Oregon coast. I loved the character development of June and Jameson. Their personal tragedies and their individual difficulties in dealing with these tragedies were so elegantly imagined by the author. The story felt very real; you as the reader could almost feel their pain. I am interested in the other three books this author has written.

Mary H. (Ocala, FL)

A Jewel of a Novel
This is a beautifully written book--exquisite in its sense of place and understanding of the flaws in human nature. Both the title and initial poetry reference refer to Emily Dickinson's poem "Indian Summer" which speaks of the birds coming back to "take a backward look." Indeed, this is exactly what the two main characters do to try to understand how they came to places of such sorrow and dysfunction in their present lives.

The author unfolds the novel by moving back and forth in time. As we get to know June and Jameson in the present, their backstories are released bit by bit until the reader is shown the entire picture. This is a tale about how people become broken and how they get through the arduous process of healing. It is one of the most beautifully crafted novels I have read in a long time.

Barbara H. (Thomasville, GA)

A tale of grief and life...
We all handle grief differently and we all get beyond it differently - although some of us may take longer or may never get beyond our grief. Thus Emily Dickinson's opening epigraph in this lovely new book by Deborah Reed: These are the days when birds come back, A very few, a bird or two. To take a look.....

Even though this book is so filled with the sorrow of the characters it is also filled with so much life. The vivid detailing in the landscape surroundings is as soulful and beautiful as the main characters - June and Jameson. I only wished for more development on June's father to better understand what occurred and why - but considering June was only seven when she lost him, it was apparently as foggy for her as for the reader. I could not put this book down and relished every page.

A wonderful read!

Sue P. (Albuquerque, NM)

The Days When Birds Come Back
A lovely, emotional book by he author of THINGS WE SET ON FIRE. Deborah Reed writes beautifully, taking one into the characters' lives, minds and more importantly, their hearts. June is dealing with many life crises and struggling with each when she returns to her childhood home where she lived with her grandparents. Jameson will renovate the house and is a man whose
life is also in turmoil. Their relationship is tentative, but will they find a way to come home again?

...14 more reader reviews

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Deborah Reed is the author of four novels: The Days When Birds Come Back, Olivay, Things We Set on Fire, and Carry Yourself Back to Me. She has also written two popular thrillers under the pen name Audrey Braun.

Deborah holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing and is co-director of the Black Forest Writing Seminars at the University of Freiburg in Germany. She teaches creative writing at workshops around the U.S. and in Europe.

She lives on the coast of Oregon. Visit her at deborahreedwriter.com

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