The Ascension of Mary by William West is a story centered on a tragedy that occurred 14 years earlier and how a family was brought together by inexplicable forces. The story begins as Rachel returns to her childhood home in Oak Park near Chicago with her 14-year-old daughter Mary, where loose ties and family secrets await. Shortly after Mary’s arrival, she discovers the presence of a ghost in her room, which she later believes to be the spirit of her father, murdered before he was born in a heartless act of hatred. The story oscillates between the perspectives of Rachel, her daughter Mary, and Jonah, their neighbor, who immediately recognizes that Mary has something special about her. As the book unfolds, secrets are revealed as Rachel shares more of her past with Mary and new information comes to their attention, leading them to a memorable finale. Powerful and thoughtful messages are conjured up as the characters navigate through difficult cases of racial discrimination.
West draws the reader in through excellent storytelling and intricate settings. The book is perfectly intricate in the layers of stories that weave past and present together, allowing the reader to feel more connected to the story. The narratives add depth to each character and provide insight into their struggles with loss and the relationships that are built between them. The author tackles important topics like racism and grief, while emphasizing the value of love. From start to finish, this book is a page-turner.
– Sublime book review