This is a beautifully written and artfully constructed book that sinks its hooks into you and doesn't let go, cliches notwithstanding. Most of the book takes the form of a flashback to recount events that happened in a small Kansas prairie down more than 20 years ago. Jody, the main character, is a 26 year old young woman who was orphaned by those events and she has spent her life, the sole granddaughter of the wealthiest man in town, trying to come to grips. There are plenty of twists and turns and the final denouement comes as a surprise. While nothing in the book feels overly contrived, many things do slip conveniently into place a little too easily at times. Still, this is a good read and one I highly recommend.
Jody Linder has spent the last 23 years learning over and over that it doesn't pay to get too happy, because happiness is always followed by events that will snatch it away. Her father was murdered during a violent thunderstorm when Jody was three years old, and her mother disappeared, her body never found. Everyone knows it was Billy Crosby, local drunk and wife-beater, who killed them, revenge for perceived slights from Jody's grandfather, the big money rancher in rural Henderson County, Kansas. And he's been sitting in prison for 23 years, convicted of Hugh-Jay Linder's murder. He never would tell where Laurie's body was buried and Jody obsesses that perhaps her mother is alive somewhere out there still.
And now, Billy Crosby has been released, his sentence commuted because there were some irregularities with the investigation--evidence not reported, brought up for review by Collin, Billy's son who has become a lawyer. Jody and her whole family--her grandparents, uncles--indeed, the whole town of Rose is in shock. When Jody actually begins talking to people, she realizes that some of the townspeople--including her current lover--have doubts about Billy's guilt in the murder and that everyone has protected her from these doubts ever surfacing over the years. Now her entire world seems to be unraveling, and Jody's just not sure where her life is headed.
I really, really loved this book--it was virtually unputdownable--until the last fifty pages or so. I can't say more without spoiling it, but the ending was so disappointing, cobbled together and...well, lame for lack of a better word, that it dragged my impression of the book down immensely.
Loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Read it in a day because I couldn't put it down. My only complaint is the ending is a bit abrupt. Her novel "The Virgin of Small Plains" is also a great read.
Blah. The writing was so forced and boring. The plot should have been gripping, and I think if the author had let the readers figure things out on their own instead of beating the point into their heads, it could have worked. As it's written, though, it was boring.
She retells the same story over and over, and the main character mulls over the same crisis of emotions seemingly countless times. I got about halfway through (skimming quite a bit), and then gave up and skipped to the last couple chapters to see how it played out (and there weren't any surprises). Her characters came across as stereotypes that were very overdrawn, especially Laurie and Billy. What should have been a shocking plot twist at the end had zero punch because the author forced the point from the first chapter onward that what we think happened didn't really happen. I got this from the library and thankfully didn't waste my credits on this one. I haven't read any of her other works and don't plan on it. This was 100% a miss.
Wow I cant believe the negative review. Not only was this book well written, it was a pleasure to read. The story unfolded at a great pace. I was surprised by the ending. I had expected something different.
I would rate this as one of the better books I have ever read.