Mini-Review — Heirlooms

23 Mar

My book club is discussing Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd this month. I would characterize this novel as women’s fiction with strong themes of family and friendship. The book shifts back and forth between two time periods, and the main characters are Helen and Eunhee and their granddaughters, Cassidy and Grace. Cassidy arrives back on Whidby Island, Washington following her grandmother’s death and is tasked with sharing long kept secrets as well as continuing her grandmother’s legacy. I really liked this book with its juxtaposition of challenges the women faced. Both storylines are compelling, and the characters are well-developed. There is a reference to a Korean saying that is translated as a taste of her hands, indicating how each woman takes the traditional and adds her own unique take. While the phrase originally relates to cooking, I loved how the author applies it to other traditions/expectations while showing how a person to forges a new path. I love this saying and have found it pertinent in many things in my own life. There is a strong faith thread that runs naturally throughout the book.

I really liked Heirlooms and heartily recommend it. You are going to want to talk about it too, so grab a reading buddy or your book club and dig in. (Note: the author has a great book club resource available on her website.)

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—`intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

The author of more than fifty books, Sandra Byrd’s work has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including a starred review, PW Pick from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as multiple starred reviews and Best Book selections from Library Journal. Other awards include the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Awards nominations, a Bookpage Top Pick for Romance, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list.

A dedicated foodie, Sandra cooks through the topic and location of every book she writes. In addition, she collects vintage glass and serve ware in her free time, loves long walks with her husband, and Sunday Suppers with her growing family.

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2 Responses to “Mini-Review — Heirlooms”

  1. Cindy Davis March 23, 2023 at 10:06 am #

    Great review, glad you and your book club enjoyed it!!!

    • rbclibrary March 24, 2023 at 12:47 pm #


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