This was a great story, but due to my extreme sensitivity to frightening events, I can't read it again and am actually trying to forget the details that haunt me so. :>) Sharyn McCrumb is a favorite author of mine because she's a Southerner. Her people are in the Smokies, as are a lot of mine--"in them thar hills", as the expression goes. This book has a theme of a tragedy that occurred in the life of the man who has ordered, on his deathbed, his sons to build him a rosewood casket. The tragedy has been a secret all the old man's life up until now, when a lady with the Second Sight--also the man's first sweetheart--brings a rosewood box to the family home. And there the mystery begins unraveling, until the tragic, sad, and dramatic climax of the story. The thing that most haunts me is: it could have nigh well happened. Those of us who are Southerners know that "Southern Gothic" isn't just a moniker, it's our very lives (and skeleton-filled family closets!). Couldn't put it down, and I hope someone else will be touched by it--without accompanying nightmares such as I've had.
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The characters are ordinary people trying to get through their lives the best they know how; and that is what makes this book so interesting. I will definitely be looking for more books by Sharyn McCrumb.
An interesting approach, following 4 brothers building a rosewood casket for their father. All the usual family dramas of conflicting personalities and lifestyles, added to the local folklore, made for a good story. McCrumb, through her characters, can get a little preachy at times, but the people here were likable enough to overcome that.
Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from the cache of rosewood he has hoarded for the special purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, prepares another box for his burial - a small box containing human bones...
Randall Stargill lies dying and his four sons come home to build him a coffin from his precious cache of rosewood. Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, bring a box to his family. She wants it buried with Randall. Its contents? a box of human bones.
Another good one by Sharyn McCrumb - set in the Appalachian mountains.
"McCrumb writes with quite fire and maybe a little mountain magic. Like every true storyteller, she has the Sight.' says the New York Times Book Review. " The Orlando Sentinal states simply, "Asorbing, Provocative." While the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes, McCrumb as a a writer who "defly weaves all her characters into a plot brimming with mystery, sudden violence,and a suspense-filled climax." "What a rich and hearty Appalacian stew... satisfying to body & soul, especially for those of us who love these hallowed hills..." writes author Jerry Bledso.
This book started out so good but about a third of the way through I started losing interest. I guess I was expecting something different than what the story was actually about. I found the parts about the mysterious child's bones and Nora Bonesteel (and her gift of "the sight") to be very interesting but they were only for maybe a page or two at the end of the chapters.
I enjoy all the historical information that she includes in her books. I also am drawn to mysteries set in the area of Appalachia. Her books are well written and keep my interest throughout as they tend to follow the lives of the same group of people.
To be honest, this book did not look all that interesting. I needed something to read, though, so I opened it up and started reading. Boy! Was I surprised! I really got involved with the characters, and I just couldn't put it down. I'm very glad I started to read this book because it turned out to be pretty good.
A old man is dying on his mountain farm and his four sons have come home to build his casket out of the rosewood he has hoarded for just this purpose. A real estate developer is just waiting for the old man to die and the old man's sweetheart from his youth brings a box to be buried with him. A great book of family with a little otherworldiness thrown in.
Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from the cache of rosewood he has haorded for the special purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, prepares another box for his burial--a small box containing human bones..
The fourth from the authors wonderful Ballad series. From the cover:
Randall Stargill lies dying on his Applachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from his precious cache of rosewood. Like a hovering vulture, a local real estate developer is readying an offer for the farm.
And mountain wise-woman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, brings to light a small box to be buried with Randall-a box containing human bones."