A startling and timely debut, Julie Carrick Dalton's Waiting for the Night Song is a moving, brilliant novel about friendships forged in childhood magic and ruptured by the high price of secrets that leave you forever changed.
Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn’t she always know her secret would surface?
An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie’s memory then all her other years combined.
Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals.
Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise.
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In Dalton's stirring debut, an entomologist follows the path of the pine beetle from the Rockies to her New Hampshire hometown where the beetles are destroying the trees, leaving them ripe for forest fires. Cadie Kessler is confident she can wake up others in academia to the imminent devastation from the beetles' new migration patterns due to climate change. Cadie's research is interrupted when she receives a text from her estranged childhood friend, Daniela Garcia, warning her the brush clearing launched by Cadie led to the discovery of a dead body that had been buried in the woods 27 years earlier, an unsolved case Cadie and Daniela secretly know a few things about. Dalton slowly teases out the details of who did the killing, who was killed, and why the children helped cover it up in flashbacks involving the girls' childhood friendship with Garrett Tierney, now deputy police chief, and Daniela's undocumented Salvadoran parents, who harbor a secret that puts their entire family at risk. While the withholding of information occasionally frustrates, Dalton does a good job describing the danger and intrigue from the children's point of view. Contemporary ecological and immigration issues compound the well-paced mystery, making for a taut novel that builds suspense to the very end.