Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
The Good: There is so much going RIGHT in this novel, I don't even know where to start. Perhaps the setting is where I will begin. As I've mentioned numerous times before, I love novels set in the south. This particular novel is set in Arkansas on John and Calla Moses's homestead. It's interesting that almost the entire story takes place on the Moses farm. Even though there aren't that many "places" in the novel, Wingfield takes the opportunity to draw readers into the Moses Farm and the surrounding areas that we don't even need any other setting. We have all we need because Wingfield uses THAT much description. Wingfield did a great job describing the southern way of living. She really got into what it would be like to be a local at John Moses's Never Closes bar. Just as vivid as the setting are the wonderful characters Wingfield introduces us to. There is Willadee and Samuel Lake and their 3 kids, Noble, Swan and Bienville. We have John and Calla Moses, Toy and Bernice Moses and finally Ras and Blade Ballenger. Each character is as unique as can be, each one has a special role in the book and Wingfield did such an amazing job with them that you either fall completely in love with a character or loathe them with a fiery passion. I love the beautifully crafted sentences...seriously...this book is the exact reasons that writers become inspired. Wingfield also did something that no other author has been able to do....she has written a novel that so fiercely displays religion and yet has stolen my heart. There is a lot of talk of religion...one of the main character is of course a preacher trying to find a place to preach...but it's done in such a way that the novel does not seem preachy...not in the least little bit. It is almost as if the religion is more of a fact of the novel... the author is giving us background into Sam Lake's life...but she is not interjecting any message with the religion. It's merely a tool to help readers accept the facts of the story. Another aspect of the story that I love is the dark subject matter that is rippling throughout the book. There is truly an evil character (and I don't mean evil in the fantasy/paranormal sort) but a seriously disgustingly evil character and the ability to mix the darkness of this character with the other comical and witty characters is amazing. Even though there are some tough things that go on during this novel the message that family and hope are there to help you through it is wonderful.
The Bad: Other than some minor formatting nuisances there really isn't anything bad to say about this novel!
Overall this book has jumped into my top 10 favorite books...it's seriously that good. I highly recommend this book. I think so many different kinds of readers will enjoy this book. There's mystery, suspense and murder. There is comedy, love and family. And even those that hate religion in a novel would probably enjoy this book. A+
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.