A troubled, young widow hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness on the John Muir Trail to elude her shameful past in this emotionally gripping story from the author of House Broken. With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.
Sonja Yoerg’s novel The Middle of Somewhere is set along the John Muir Trail where the main character, Liz attempts to find some solitude and work through some life issues of her own. Liz is interesting in the beginning of the book, a 30-year old widow who shares her real-life struggles with readers. At first it seemed like the hike on John Muir Trail was one of those bucket list things but as the story goes on, it is clear that there’s more. While Liz loves her boyfriend, Dante, they have problems.
The author tells the story in third person while using flashbacks to help us understand how Liz came to be the way she is, and at first, I wasn’t a fan of Dante. As the layers of Liz and Dante are peeled back, each reveal was a nice surprise and kept me turning pages getting to know both Liz and Dante better. By the end of the book, I liked both of their characters. By the end of the book, I actually appreciated their relationship too.
Yoerg’s novel was easy to get into and a good read. It’s not just “chick lit” either – the book has substance. The author does an amazing job of describing different points along the Muir Trail. She clearly has knowledge about hiking and the trail and shares that with her readers. I actually felt like I was along for the trip with characters because the author made it feel so real. I caught myself holding my breath as they saw a beautiful lake under a cloudless sky, and I was nervous when Liz was terrified of thunderstorms. I really enjoyed being so drawn to the story and it’s a great quality of a good author.
This story shares a wonderful journey of redemption, self-exploration, love and forgiveness, and I recommend this book to everyone. It is filled with adventure, mystery and self-discovery, while at the same time it is a great love story.
A great quote from the book: “But for her there was no possibility of a clear conscience, merely the weak absolution of honesty, of confession. She could not buy into the cycle of sin and penance. She would always remember what she had done, and it would always sting. She would not be washed clean.”
Thank you so much NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and unbiased opinion.
Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, among other species. Her non-fiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA) was published in 2001.
While her two daughters were young, Sonja taught in their schools in California. Now that they are in college, she writes full-time.
She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband. HOUSE BROKEN is her first novel.