REVIEW: Heartbreaking. Bells For Eli by Susan Beckham Zurenda was such a wonderful book but, it was heartbreaking. We always think of our youth as carefree and fun. This book brings to the foreground that times as a kid are not always fun.
The characters in this story brought me back to my childhood. This book covers the late 50’s to the late 70’s and is about the love shared between two cousins who grow up across the street from each other. It is told through the eyes of Delia, short for Adeline. Her cousin is Eli, short for Elliston. Eli had such a beautiful, caring and troubled soul. I truly loved these characters. They were flawed but, they had big hearts.
The book takes place in the south where life is slower. People have time for each other. I think feel during that time period more time was given to living and not being so busy all the time like we are now. I wish we could go back to that time.
I couldn’t put this book down. I was so interested in the relationships, what was going on behind closed doors and the history of the families. If you love books from other time periods or coming of age stories, you’ll love this book.
I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest review. Thank you!
SYNOPSIS: First cousins Ellison (Eli) Winfield and Adeline (Delia) Green are meant to grow up happily and innocently across the street from one another amid the supposed wholesome values of small-town Green Branch, South Carolina, in the 1960s and 70s. But Eli’s tragic accident changes the trajectory of their lives and of those connected to them. Shunned and even tortured by his peers for his disfigurement and frailty, Eli struggles for acceptance in childhood as Delia passionately devotes herself to defending him. Delia’s vivid and compassionate narrative voice presents Eli as a confident young man in adolescence–the visible damage to his body gone–but underneath hides indelible wounds harboring pain and insecurity, scars that rule his impulses. And while Eli cherishes Delia more than anyone and attempts to protect her from her own troubles, he cares not for protecting himself. It is Delia who has that responsibility, growing more challenging each year. BELLS FOR ELI is a lyrical and tender exploration of the relationship between cousins drawn together through tragedy in a love forbidden by social constraints and a family whose secrets must stay hidden. Susan Beckham Zurenda masterfully transports readers into a small Southern town where quiet, ordinary life becomes extraordinary. In this compelling coming of age story, culture, family, friends, bullies, and lovers propel two young people to unite to guard each other in a world where love, hope, and connectedness ultimately triumph.