In her first novel, journalist Julie Carrick Dalton extols the virtues and beauty of the natural world and laments the forces that threaten it, passionately capturing the devastation that a fire can cause and the helplessness people feel in the face of such uncontrollable disaster ... Though her style comes across heavy-handed at times, Dalton writes thoughtfully and poetically about a place clearly close to her own New Hampshire-based heart. Cadie and Daniela’s interrupted friendship forms the core of the novel, and Dalton captures that best-friend bond so intensely forged in youth ... Through vivid and emotional imagery, Waiting for the Night Song speaks to the power that a place and its people can have over your life.
... an impressive achievement ... complex and well-plotted ... Dalton combines descriptions of natural beauty, love of and a sense of place, and enduring friendship that survives decades of no contact. Interwoven into the fabric of the novel are depictions of the strength of family ties, past and present. Fierce protective instincts of mothers and their precious, precocious children ... additionally enfolded into the novel, albeit sparingly, are themes of the dismissal by officials of scientific evidence, harsh treatment of 'illegal' immigrants, racial tensions—and they all add heft, even though at times portentous argument, to this thriller. These pages hinder its pace, although the novel is mainly a page turner ... Dalton has created a page-turning thriller with undertones of contemporaneous, serious, societal, and academic issues.
... beautiful ... touches on many complex themes. I love how they were all interwoven together in the story ... balances the nuances of living under the fear that the truth will come out while at the same time wanting to have the courage that will set the truth free so that everyone can move forward ... an engaging read. The cover is absolutely breathtaking, the pace is a good one, and the issues are timely, set in the backdrop of the haunting present ... The diverse characters were an asset to the story, bringing in perspectives that aren’t always part of fiction.
Dalton’s debut is a story of friendship, family, and the consequences of acting out of fear, especially when those actions are performed to protect those we love. The storytelling is made even more vivid by the way the novel practically breathes the woods of New Hampshire.
... stirring ... 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.