January was a good time to try something new with our mystery reading: picking a highly-regarded author who isn’t known for mystery, and reading one that we felt was also a mystery. This turned out to be Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.
Our lead-in from Goodreads stated: “For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.”
Our group enjoyed the three main characters, Jenna, Virgil, and Serenity and agreed that their flaws only further humanized them and made them more real. They also reflected one of the main focuses of the book: family. What constitutes a family, what being a member of a family can mean and how differently different families operate. We thought that was especially true with Alice’s family of origin and of Nevvie, Grace and Gideon.
We were also impressed with all the research the author had done with The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, and the stories she gathered that show how elephants have unbreakable relationships and demonstrate cognition. Both of these attributes play key parts in the story – both for the human characters and the elephants.
Our discussion ended with many reactions and comments about the final twists in the plot – but we’ll leave those unmentioned for other readers to enjoy!