Where the Sweet Bird Sings

A year after the death of her young son, Emma Hazelton is still deep in her grief. She and her husband, Noah, were blindsided when their Joey was diagnosed in infancy with Canavan disease, a rare genetic disorder. Then, Emma's grandfather dies, too. As she helps her mother clean his house, Emma finds her great-grandparents' wedding picture, which unlocks Emma's curiosity about how she could have been a Canavan carrier. As far as she knows, she has no Jewish ancestors, and the disease primarily occurs when both parents have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

As her life spirals out of control, Emma pushes Noah and her mother away. Avoiding thoughts about the future, she focuses solely on the past and the mystery of who her grandfather really was. Can she unlock the secrets of her ancestors before she irreversibly damages all her relationships?

Ella Joy Olsen (Root, Petal, Thorn) has created an absorbing novel. Emma's grief is vivid, and her quest to find out more about herself is universal. Avid genealogists are sure to enjoy reading about Emma's research, and even novices will be intrigued by the way Olsen slowly unfolds the story, connecting events from Emma's past with the fraught relationships of her present. A charming, interesting story, Where the Sweet Bird Sings is an excellent blend of history, mystery, loss and familial connection. --Jessica Howard, bookseller at Bookmans

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