In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.
But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.
A Sudden Light is a spellbinding, atmospheric work rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation.
"Okay, I confess that I have a bit of a crush on Garth Stein. I read The Art of Racing In The Rain as an early reader, and LOVED it. I was very excited to meet him at a talk at Tattered Cover, and now he really has a forever follower.
A Sudden Light is somewhat complex, what with ghosts, magic, tricksters and deep family drama on several levels. It was fascinating to follow the sleuthing Trevor, the 14 year old protagonist in the book, does, trying to get the truth about his fractured family. Environmental issues also play a big part in this book, with a showdown of money vs environment that creates the ongoing tension that drives the story-and riles the ghosts to action.
I highly recommend this book."