The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green by Erica Boyce

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How funny! I’ve only just read this now:

For readers seeking the warmth of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend blended with the creative spark of Rachel Joyce, The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green explores the unexplainable bonds of family, the everyday wonder of love, and the strange mysteries life provides that help humanity light up the dark.

I never did read the full description before beginning to read this one but this is EXACTLY the book I was thinking of since it gave off so many similar feelings. I planned on writing, “if you liked The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, you would certainly enjoy The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green”. I just finished reading about Broken Wheel and went right into Fifteen Wonders too!

They are quite similar in that both deal with the “saving the small town from extinction” and the cute love story aspect. In Fifteen Wonders it’s at the request of Sam, who is dying from cancer, for Daniel to make a crop circle in his field. Sam feels that in order to generate excitement and interest in his beloved town, it may just get the young people to stay and see what the town can offer, and maybe so many of them wouldn’t leave. For Sam, the urgency in which this crop circle needs to be finished presses upon all in the family and in the community. This strong sense of community comes through strongly, just as it did in Broken Wheel.

For Daniel Green, he’s always been a lone-wolf and making crop circles is exactly the right kind of job for him. Sam’s crop circle will be his fifteenth, which is a special achievement in the world of circlers. What Daniel doesn’t expect is the feelings he begins to have for Sam’s daughter, Nessa.

Told in three perspectives: Daniel, Molly (Sam’s wife) and Nessa, the Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green has a lot jammed packed inside. At times I felt almost overwhelmed with everything that was being thrown out there and included in this book. Because there were so many issues and content, I felt you were only given superficial access to the story and the characters. Sometimes a name or an incident would be pop up, and it was jarring as there wasn’t any earlier mention of them, so it was only covered quickly and then it was on to the next issue/item. Overall it gave an inconsistency to the reading experience and it felt unfocused.

Some of the issues inside were mental illness (and in more than one character), homosexuality, family discord, same-sex marriage, therapy, infidelity, secret society of crop circlers, cancer, childhood experiences…it just felt like a barrage of so many things packed into here, when one or two would have been sufficient to help focus it. There is a lot of emotion inside, it’s heartwarming and it is a good story, I just couldn’t help my overall feeling that it lacked focus and could have been a tighter read.

Erica Boyce will have her second book published in 2020, and it is one I’ll be looking forward to reading for sure. Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for access to The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green.