Madena, upstate New York. Like any other small town, everybody keeps an eye on everybody else’s business without recognizing the secrets that connect them. The wheelchair-bound Celeste conjures up lives from what she sees and thinks she sees while peering through binoculars from her kitchen fan vent. Fifteen-year old Persephone trades sex for tattoo sessions that get her high and help her forget her girlfriend doesn’t love her. Theo was the high-school bad boy who couldn’t have the respectable girl he adored from afar, but now, sitting behind the counter of the last video store in town, worries wretchedly about the restless daughter he never understood. Natalie, trying to grasp the last shreds of respectability, would do anything to forget the baby she gave up long ago, including betray her husband and son. Celeste, longing to connect, combines truth with fantasy, intervenes and interferes, finally understanding that things have gone terribly wrong and that she stands at the heart of disaster.
Connected Underneath is a lyrical, scalpel-keen dissection of the ties that bind and of those that dissolve.
Title: Connected Underneath
Author: Linda Legters
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Family Life
Publisher: Lethe Press
Published: April 4, 2016
Format: Paperback, 195 pages
FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Contained in a mere 195 pages, author Linda Legters shares an emotional rollercoaster ride while relating a story filled with the dangers of keeping secrets, adoption of and raising a teenager as a single parent, and relationships.
The author introduces her reader to several highly complex and well-developed characters. My own personal favorites, perhaps because I’ve been a single parent, were Theo and his adopted, now teenage daughter, Persephone aka Seph. Struggling through Seph’s teens, Theo has approached her natural mother for some help in sorting out Seph’s escalating withdrawal and moodiness. Theo has agreed to never tell Seph who her mother is and little does Theo know he has no idea who Seph’s birth father is.
I struggle with and for Seph because as the reader, I know just how many secrets about her self-identity and the need for connection with family are being kept from her. And I know the secrets Seph is keeping from others.
Central to this story is the narrator, Celeste, a wheelchair-bound voyeur using binoculars to spy on her neighbors. Some of these neighbors include the above-mentioned characters plus others. For Celeste, everyone else’s secrets become her secrets as she spies on their lives from afar.
Legters writes with lyrical prose and in an intelligent manner. She also knows how to hold a reader’s attention using a fast pace throughout.
Bottom line for me was the lesson that secrets kept can hurt. They can hurt just one or many. They can turn on you and hurt you. In the end, secrets kept are not winners for anyone!
Linda Legters was born in the far western reaches of New York State. She earned her B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and her MFA from Vermont College. She lived in Boston and New York before settling in Connecticut to raise her three sons. She currently teaches at Norwalk Community College and at the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio.
Her short stories are about people from across the social spectrum and have appeared in literary journals such as Glimmer Train and Alaska Quarterly Review. She is passionate about art and music in addition to literature, and is at work on her second novel.
Find out more about Linda at her website.
Follow the rest of Linda’s tour here.