Reviews


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“Kim Church has created an unforgettable and gripping tale about a young woman’s passage to adulthood in a small town in North Carolina in her excellent debut novel, Byrd. There are books we like to read because they provide a window to a world wholly unfamiliar, but there are others like Byrd that give insight into our own lives: our hopes and dreams, what we’ve done right, opportunities missed.” —David W. Schweid, BookPage

“Kim Church conveys loss and longing with deft economy in prose that is spare but lovely. On every page, Church’s debut novel is about people missing each other.” —Kim Kankiewicz, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Kim Church’s debut novel Byrd (Dzanc) is the sort of book you’d expect from a novelist who already has a few books under her belt. The novel is short, but so intricate, thought out, and complete that upon finishing you want to flip back to the beginning and start all over again.” —Emma Cueto, BUSTLE

“A fantastic unorthodox style, … a fresh and entertaining read. Church has created an intelligent, multifaceted person—a brave woman—that the reader is grateful to have become acquainted with.” —Anna Stusser, Necessary Fiction

“In subtle flashes, Church shows us how we as humans manage to live ‘with hopes, but no expectations’ of what the world might offer us, if only we are open to it.” —Lenore Myka, Colorado Review

“Church’s insight into the human psyche, her understanding of the struggle to make sense of past mistakes and difficult choices, is deeply provocative. Readers who love spare, literary fiction which is riveting in its exploration of the human heart will want to pick up a copy of this amazing novel.” —CaribousMom (5/5 stars) (reprinted in The Piker Press)

“A beautifully written book. … Through the interwoven vignettes, we become involved with the characters. More than once, the reader understands what the characters don’t. We are powerless to stop what’s coming next, but we still want to follow them.” —Teresa Leonard, Charlotte ObserverRaleigh News & Observer and online syndicates

“Ever read a book and from the first page, sigh and say to yourself, ‘I wish I’d written this’? That’s how I feel about Kim Church’s novel, Byrd. … You read relishing every bright metaphor, finish, go back and reread, then hold it to your chest because you don’t want to let these people go.” —Ruth Moose, The Pilot

Michael Kindness: “I’m absolutely in awe of this book.” Ann Kingman: “It’s one of those books that, even though it’s short, you want to read it slowly, savor it.” —Books on the Nightstand podcast

“Devour this book.” —Trina Hayes, Hungry for Good Books (5/5 stars)

“Church writes in language that’s clear, economical and unpretentious. It never gets in the way of the story, but rather advances it so smoothly you’re hardly aware of it. Only after you’ve been reading a while, caught up in the world she’s created, do you stop to think that her prose is also finely crafted, even poetic. … What could have been a simple tale about a mother who gives up her child for adoption … becomes a subtly powerful story about family, love, and belonging, and about making the best of life despite mistakes and disappointments. Readers who have ever had to make tough choices and live with the results will appreciate the wisdom in [this] fine novel.” —Linda C. Brinson, Greensboro News & Record

“Kim Church’s debut novel Byrd is essentially a love story for a lost child. … [Addie's] quest to see her son again and resolve her seemingly unquenchable wish to be ‘one of anything’ form the hinge around which the rest of this elegiac novel revolves.” —Jody Hobbs Hesler, [PANK]

“More than any of the characters who trip into and out of the spotlight, the book’s offstage title character represents hope. While Byrd himself makes only a fleeting appearance at the moment of his birth, his absence helps to define the novel. In a sense, the book is a history awaiting Byrd’s discovery and a plea for his forgiveness. As readers, we discover and forgive in Byrd’s stead. And in Church’s capable hands, we are glad to do both.” —Kim Kankiewicz, BOOM! (reprinted from Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Church captures an essential truth: that rarely is life perfect—despite all planning—but it usually turns out okay. Such honest simplicity is what makes this story an overwhelming success.” —Joshua Myers, Curled Up with a Good Book

“I might as well cut to the chase. I am not much of a crier, but when I got to the end of Byrd (and maybe a few times before that), I cried. For about an hour, I cried. I wasn’t sobbing, but I continued to well up, and even now if I think about certain scenes in the novel, it brings tears to my eyes. And the beauty of it is that nothing in this novel is overworked or melodramatic. It’s the hush, the lonely hopefulness, the complexity of love and disappointment that drive the narratives of everyday life that really shine here.” —Priscilla Walter, The Evening Reader (5/5 stars)

“Addie Lockwood’s unexpected pregnancy is just the first surprise in Kim Church’s Byrd, a beautifully written first novel about love, choice and chance. … Church’s seductive prose takes hold and doesn’t let go.” —Nancy Pate, On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever

Byrd is intimate and honest, funny and heartbreaking. Addie, who runs a used bookstore in Raleigh, writes letters to the son she gave up for adoption at birth. At the same time, she struggles with forming lasting relationships in her current life. Her letters alternate with flashbacks of her and of Roland, the boy’s father, both of them flawed but generous and sympathetic characters, who have known each other since fourth grade. Kim Church has gotten all the details right, from the complications of motherhood and intimacy, to the culture of Piedmont North Carolina from the 60s to the present.” —Sarah Goddin, Manager, Quail Ridge Books & Music (Staff Pick)

“The letters [Addie writes to her absent son] are perhaps the strongest parts of the book, allowing Addie to confess in lyric and lovely prose the things we might not have otherwise learned from her. These letters make you empathize rather than sympathize with Addie, and this makes for a much closer and, oddly enough, less sentimental read. … The story resonated for a good while after I left the book. Not only did my appreciation of Byrd grow, but in remembering it, I felt each loss anew.” —Anna Whiteside, Monkeybicycle

Byrd is as outstanding as it is understated. It’s a novel of exceptional clarity that reaches into hidden corners. It left me feeling I understood my own life better. I’d recommend it to any reader from young adults to those who’ve had a full life.” —David R. Anderson Book Reviews, Christchurch, New Zealand

“Nuance. Detail. And some by-golly I-never-thought-of-that insight. These are some of the tools that writers use to bring their truth to storytelling. Some have it. Some don’t. Kim Church does. Clearly.” —Bruce Wehrle, My Write Stuff

Byrd tracks the dreams and failures of Addie and Roland, sometimes friends, sometimes more. The book is named for the baby Addie gives up for adoption without telling Roland. This missing link, combined with an alert present-tense voice, conveys the quietly pressing urgency of lives left unconnected.” —Brian Howe, The Independent Weekly

Byrd is a fascinating book about the way relationships and decisions change our lives. … The storyline is terrific and it made me think about why we make the decisions we do.  There’s a lot to discuss in Byrd, so I think it would make a terrific book club choice.”  —BermudaOnion

“Some decisions we make have a huge effect on our lives, and on the lives of others, too. Addie’s decision to give up her son at birth for adoption has far-reaching results that will take years to be seen. This is a beautifully written story of Addie, a much better mother than she ever thought she could be.” —Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC (Staff Pick)

“Church has given us an amazing gift with her novel Byrd, … a  multifaceted and brilliantly layered story. Very highly recommended.” —She Treads Softly

“Fan Letter to Kim Church for her novel, Byrd: Do you want to know why I really love it, and why I think it will be a huge success? It is because every girl has a Roland and a William and a secret.” —Pam Van Dyk Writes

“A promising new novel.” —Ann La Farge, Taconic Newspapers

Byrd hits all the right notes. … [The novel] is about the diaphanously sensitive and book-smart Addie Lockwood coming of age in the 60s and 70s and maturing into her true, imperfect life in the 21st century South, replete with hard choices and real people. In my dream world, Nicole Holofcener directs the film adaptation.” —Design Story Works

Byrd is a touching and life-affirming story that explores the all-too-familiar instances in which our secrets, actions and decisions shape not only our own lives but our loved ones’ as well.” —The Five-Eyed Bookworm

Byrd is a carefully written story of loss and decision, … a story of a life shaped around an absence.” —Meredith Jacobs, The Fayetteville Observer

“Sweet and quiet and honest without being overt. A great book to read lazing in a hammock with a tall glass of lemonade.” —Carin Siegfried, Caroline Bookbinder 

“Kim Church’s Byrd is an impressive debut novel that traces the life of its unforgettable protagonist.” —Largehearted Boy

“I loved this book. I love books that take me back in time to a place that I have been and memories just come through the floodgates.” —Build a Bookshelf

“This debut novel relies on language and character to build the story of a woman’s life—one that didn’t turn out quite the way she planned. … Byrd is a quiet and thoughtful novel with a strong emotional center.” —Kel Munger, Lit/Rant

“I’m not even off the first page and I’m already invested in the lives of these characters. That’s the power of tight, controlled writing.” —David Abrams, The Quivering Pen