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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
An Offering by Maura Lin is a historical literary novel that explores the lives of siblings Alice, Dora, and Edith from the Silent Generation, and Alice's children Lucy, Eleanor, and Mark from the Baby Boomer generation. The narrative focuses mostly on Alice and Lucy, starting with the turbulent experiences of Alice's youth, from being accosted by a young man in her youth and the impact of her sister Dora's departure. As a young adult, her entire world is rocked when she is the victim of a violent attack. Lin also details Lucy's struggles with identity, anorexia, and the aftermath of a nursing mistake. The story spans different time periods, shedding light on the family dynamics and personal challenges faced that resonate through every aspect of their lives.
I actually had to set An Offering down when author Maura Lin depicts a beautiful scene in a heartbreaking moment, capturing an intense and unexpected birth and the support and care provided by two others, in secrecy, and in that moment. That is not something I ever have to do but the tenderness of it made me afraid that if I kept reading, too many bad things will happen to take the feeling away. At this juncture the worst is past and Lin's writing continues to blossom as the story progresses. The scenes are in vignettes and punctuate chronological time but only as it applies to whose story we are in; whether it is Alice preparing a meal in 1978 or Eleanor receiving a letter in 2002, there is no confusion over where we are or who we are with. It's all well done, and well managed. Overall, this is a beautiful novel that slowly unfurls itself into a satisfying and well-deserved finale.