Assistant Director of Collections and Metadata Tyler Wilmoth reviewed Adrienne Young’s new novel, The Unmaking of June Farrow, for Johnson City Press this weekend. If you didn’t see his review in the paper, read it below!
It’s one thing to read a book and simply enjoy the events and characters, but reading The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young also involved deep reflection and puzzling out what might happen next and what could be possible.
This book took me by surprise. I’m always game for a good time travel story, but I wasn’t prepared for the amazing ride I was about to embark on. I had read book reviews that included “small mountain town,” “mysterious curse,” and “a touch of the impossible,” so I knew I needed to settle in and absorb it all.
The story is set in Jasper, North Carolina, a fictional town in the mountains between Asheville and Johnson City. It begins with the death of June Farrow’s grandmother, who raised June in the mysterious absence of her mother. June begins seeing visions she believes are related to a Farrow family curse that affects all the Farrow women. These visions seem completely real, but she isn’t sure what she’s seeing is there. Her grandmother’s passing has also left June with a trail of cryptic clues, hinting at the secrets of her mother’s disappearance and the key to breaking the curse.
As June dives deeper into her family’s history, she keeps being drawn to a red door, which is later revealed to be a time travel mechanism. After finally entering the door at the request of a letter from an unknown writer, she begins to uncover fragments of her past, present, and future. Each piece adds to the puzzle of her identity and her family’s tormenting curse. Along the way, June must solve a murder and falls in love, although both happen in ways I didn’t expect or predict.
The Unmaking of June Farrow has it all: drama, mystery, and romance. It’s also set in a time and place in which I can vividly imagine the nuances of people’s personalities and interactions. The time travel element is so well explained that I long for more stories about the Farrow family. The author does a superb job moving the story forward while also making you stop, ponder and live in her world for a moment.
This is a story of self-acceptance, resilience and the power of the human spirit to transcend time in the name of love and family. I’ve always looked at time as a measure of what happens to us and when it happened. But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe we can use our past to embrace the present and shape our future. Maybe that’s real time travel.
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