In a small Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall from the sky, landing on the baseball field. The town is in an uproar, wondering what caused the birds to die, and fearing for their safety. The dead birds are the biggest news to hit town for years. Until a reporter sees everyone’s favorite teacher, Nate Winters, embracing bad girl student Lucia Hamm in front of a no-tell motel.
Despite Nate’s denials, he’s soon being investigated, and Lucia adds fuel to the fire by claiming they are having an affair. Nate’s wife, Alecia, wonders if her husband is telling the truth. With the whole town hurling accusations, other rumors start to surface about Nate. Then Lucia disappears, and Nate is the only suspect. But there’s more going on in this small town than meets the eye, and with only one person on his side, Nate may never find out the truth.
The Blackbird Season was not what I expected at all. The portrayal of small-town life is so vivid and realistic, with the gossip and back-stabbing and secrets. As someone who grew up in a small town, this felt completely believable. I spent most of the book wondering, like the characters, if Nate was guilty and just what Lucia was hiding. There are a lot of twists and unexpected turns in this novel, and it’s a riveting read.
(Galley provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)