By Anesa Miller
Genre: Mainstream/Literary Fiction
In Anesa Miller’s new book, Our Orbit, nine-year-old Miriam Winslow has never worn new clothes, was not permitted to cut her hair, and believes that children must repent their sins with major displays of remorse, or harm will come to their loved ones. Barely half a year after her mother’s death, Miriam is thrust into a different world when her father, a militant tax protester, is jailed on weapons charges.
Miriam finds herself in foster care, her teenage siblings sent to other homes.
College-educated Rick and Deanne Fletcher quickly come to love their “new little girl.” Then they encounter the rest of Miriam’s family: Uncle Dan believes he was abducted by aliens. Sister Rachel, just out of juvenile detention, harbors many painful secrets. Brother Josh is outraged that the Fletchers disrespect Christian teachings. When his plan to remove Miriam from their home fails, Josh reacts with growing hostility to outside interference in their way of life.
I was easily interested in reading Our Orbit due to the colorful synopsis, but nothing could prepare me for the treasure that awaited me within the pages. Wow, Anesa Miller can write! Her storytelling is hands down some of the best I have read.
I love this quirky plot about the religious Winslow family who are a bit tattered and damaged. The youngest daughter Miriam survives a car crash that takes her mother’s life and proudly steps up to take the role of caregiver just like she thinks her mother would have wanted her to. Sadly, when her father finds himself in a legal mess, Miriam is whisked away to a foster family.
Anesa writes beautifully about the four Winslow children, their unusual circumstances, and their struggle to find their way without their parents and away from each other. Our Orbit is a captivating story and I highly recommend it.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, and longtime Ohio resident, Anesa Miller is a writer with training in Russian language and literature. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, The California Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, and others. Her debut novel, Our Orbit, is a story of cultural conflict set in Appalachia in the 1990s.