Review: A Sudden Light

A Sudden LightA Sudden Light
By Garth Stein
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439187036, September 2014, 416pp.)

The Short of It:

It feels so good to pick-up a book and immediately know after just a few pages, that it’s going to be a good story.

The Rest of It:

My “book picker” is finely tuned this year. I’ve read some interesting and fun books and I have to say, that this year seems to be the year for atmospheric reads because I have read so many and used that word so many times to describe what I am reading that I think I may need to come up with a new word.

A Sudden Light, is no exception. Fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell’s parents are on the outs. His father, Jones Riddell, takes him back to his family’s home which is infamously referred to as Riddell House. Situated on the edge of a forest and overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound, it’s massive and full of secrets. The Riddells of the past ran a timber company which produced quite a bit of wealth but Jones and his sister Serena want to sell the house and property so they can build their nest eggs elsewhere. Their only problem is convincing the grandfather, who is battling dementia, that selling the property is the right thing to do.

I really enjoyed this book. There is a slight supernatural element, a lot of family history and secrets, hidden rooms and well-drawn characters. The family dynamic is touching and Trevor is such a great kid. They are all so consumed by this house and what it stands for, that they often can’t see the forest for the trees. Pun intended. Nature lovers will find this book especially appealing because there is a conservation thread to the story that is skillfully woven in.

This book is a little different from The Art of Racing in the Rain, Stein’s runaway bestseller, but I really got caught-up in the story and look at that cover!

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

17 thoughts on “Review: A Sudden Light”

    1. It’s very different from Racing, but I was okay with it. I really loved the setting of this one.


    1. It’s a fun little read if you enjoy a supernatural element and a old, creepy house with a lot of secret rooms.


    1. Follow-up books are tough but I never expected this one to be like Racing. I think a lot of people wanted it to be so they were a little disappointed with this one but that was not the case for me. I DO remember reading another book by him, that was re-published and released after Racing and I was sooooo upset over that one when I found out it was really an earlier book that was re released. That’s not his fault but I was very disappointed that it was marketed as a NEW book.


  1. This one sounds good–and more up my alley than The Art of Racing in the Rain. I know everyone loved that book, but I have no interest in it. I do want to read this one though, and am glad you liked it.

  2. I really loved this book. It isn’t the most impressive story, but his writing is spectacular. It really makes the novel so special. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!

  3. I feel like the only one on earth who didn’t love The Art of Racing…so this one appeals to me much more! And yes, such a great feeling when a book can hold you all the way through. Not like my current read. Blarg.

    1. You’re right. He is a sensitive writer. I typically enjoy his writing. Maybe not every character but as a whole, the writing is what pulls me in.


  4. I haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain but it’s been on my must-read list for a while. I’ll check this one out after I read the first one.

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