Wednesday, July 25, 2018


THE TWELVE-MILE STRAIGHT  by Eleanor Henderson
Oh my, incest, moonshine, sharecropping, KKK, lynching, twins (one white, one black), chain gangs and everything else bad about 1920’s Georgia. It is all here along with a meandering timeline, numerous plots and sub-plots and the “N” word.  If this sounds exhausting – it is.  There is just soooo much going on in this 540 page tome that it is WORK to read it.
There is an interesting and valuable story here. The characters include a moonshining sharecropper with a problematic background, a teenaged daughter and a teenaged live-in black “maid.”  Juke (the sharecropper/moonshiner) hires a black male farmhand. The farmhand has a relationship with both daughter and maid. Daughter has a relationship with the farm owner’s  son that ends badly. Both teens are pregnant. The farmhand is lynched and dragged down the twelve-mile straight roadway to the delight (for a time) of the entire town. The son is accused of the murder and disappears – and that is just the beginning section of the book.
The characters are clearly drawn. The time and place are well defined.  The situations are believable. But the whole thing is sooo long and the time meanders from before to after and back again with no clear delineation.  The final resolutions are clear and satisfying.  Dates at the start of each event would be helpful. A little (a lot?) of editing would help.
3 stars for length and confusing timeline

Monday, July 16, 2018

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE by Karen Witemeyer

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE  by Karen Witemeyer
Three orphans form their own “family” in turn of the century Texas after a train wreck leaves them alone.  All are “cursed’ in some way. Twelve years after the train wreck finds them settled and succeeding until a stranger appears who wants to cause them harm. 
There is off screen violence toward women and several murders/attempted murders. There is no foul language. The love scenes are limited to kisses.
The main character, Evangeline, is fully developed: the others less so. The place is Texas but could be anywhere. The plot is interesting although the end too convenient and too short, while other parts of the novel drag.  The author tells us – repeatedly – exactly how the characters think and feel.
For the genre – Christian mystery romance – the book is one of the better written and plotted.
3 of 5 stars