Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby
Reviewed by Shelly, Book Buyer
The most endearing thing about Goodwood was the way Holly lovingly captured the small town community spirit, and Cedar Valley is another beautifully crafted novel set in a small town (near Goodwood, there are a couple of easter eggs for the fans!). While the mystery in Goodwood was a very personal one, the death in Cedar Valley is more baffling than mysterious. Based on the real mystery of the Somerton Man, the story kicks off one day in 1993 when a man catches a bus into town and promptly sits down (in front of the antique store) and dies. This happens to be the same day that Benny Miller arrives in town, she’s on a quest to meet her recently deceased mother’s estranged best friend, hoping to find out more about the woman her mother was. Throughout we are shown the effect that the death of this stranger has on the townspeople, how it changes the way they view themselves, and each other. We also learn more about Benny’s mother and her connection to Cedar Valley. Holly’s talent for creating a small town world is impressive – everything feels authentic and the characters she has created are perfectly drawn. This is a character driven novel, but the plot doesn’t suffer for this.