Release Day Review: If Darkness Takes Us by Brenda Marie Smith

Genre: Post-apocalyptic fiction
Publisher: SFK Press


IN SUBURBAN AUSTIN, TEXAS, BEA CRENSHAW SECRETLY PREPARES FOR THE APOCALYPSE. But when a solar pulse destroys modern life, she’s left alone with four grandkids whose parents do not return home. She must teach these kids to survive without power, cars, phones, running water, or doctors in a world fraught with increasing danger.

If Darkness Takes Us is realistic post-apocalyptic fiction with a focus on a family in peril, led by a no-nonsense grandmother who is at once funny, controlling, and heroic in her struggle to hold her family together with civility and heart.

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I love post-apocalyptic novels, however, I try not to read a lot of them because there is always heartbreak. The reason I decided to give If Darkness Takes Us a try was because of the main character being an almost 70 year old woman who is left alone with four grandkids. The synopsis of this book sounded very unique and intriguing to me, so I had to read it. Bea was somewhat prepared for a disaster hitting the world. She wasn't taken seriously but she was smart enough to plan ahead. It wasn't easy for her to take care of her four grandkids aging from six to seventeen, but she did the best she could. She can't watch out for them 24/7 but she tried to. However, in a world that is hit by an apocalypse kids grow up much faster and you can't really do much about it.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It had heartwarming and fun moments, but also very emotional and heartbreaking ones. I cried a couple of times. But going into a post-apocalyptic novel you need to be prepared for anything. The author did a great job in telling the story from Bea's POV. It is obvious the author did her research and her writing style is very easy to read. Reading this type of stories makes me afraid of what we as people would do if we were hit with a disaster that would force us to go back to basics. I will definitely try to read more of these type of books in the future because I really like them. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is intrigued by what they read in the synopsis.

Brenda studied fiction in the UCLA Writers Program. She self-published her first novel, Something Radiates, after raising the funds via crowd-funding. A sequel to If Darkness Takes Us called If the Light Should Come is under consideration by the publisher. The story is written in the point of view of Bea’s 18-year-old grandson, Keno. More books in the series are in the works.

Brenda has lived in Austin, Texas for thirty-nine years. Prior to that she was a member of The Farm (a vegan hippie commune based in Tennessee, where she studied spiritual phenomena and her sons were delivered by midwives, including the famed Ina May Gaskin). In Austin, she helped to found Soy Foods of Texas (maker of tofu salads still available today), the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition, Mockingbird Productions (a concert promotion company), and Green Earth Oil Distributors (a supplier of biodegradable motor oil). She was General Manager of the Inter-Cooperative Council (student housing co-ops near UT) for fifteen years, and she does bookkeeping, business writing, and income taxes today.

Brenda and her husband own a solar-powered home in South Austin and have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

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