Thursday, January 24, 2013
Published April 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for this review
For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when you get caught spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to—an act that will have repercussions. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. He now knows that a new understanding can bring not only danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance.
Top Ten Reasons Book Clubs Will Want To Read A Land More Kind Than Home
If your book club decides to take Wiley's suggestion, here is a reading guide from HarperCollins.
A Land More Kind Than Home was all the buzz in the book world last year among bloggers. This can be a turn off for me, as I've said before. I find it hard to believe that one book can be so loved by such a wide range of readers. Eventually I find myself reading most of those books and sometimes I do find that those books just don't work for me in the way they worked for everyone else. A Land More Kind Than Home isn't one of those books. It is a book that I found to be more than deserving of all the accolades it earned. It is a lovely, heartwarming book, that reminded me in tone, somewhat, of To Kill A Mockingbird. From the start Cash pulls you into his Southern tale with an intriguing plot and both unusual characters and the very characters you expect to find in this kind of book. He can do that because Cash has a way of making those characters come alive; there is nothing about his characters that felt stereotypical to me.
I found myself surprised by the tension in the book. I suppose that the mention of "danger and evil" in the publisher's summary should have been a clue and the first chapter tells readers that there is going to be trouble. Even so, I was unprepared for it. Perhaps that's what Cash intended. He builds toward a powerful ending throughout the book but pauses long enough throughout to flesh out the background of his characters and ease up a bit on the running plot line. Cash uses multiple first-person narrative to weave the lives of elderly Adelaide Lyle, Jess Hall and his family, fire and brimstone pastor Carson Chambliss, and Sheriff Clem Baresfield together in a way that made me feel deeply for each of them.
Wiley Cash is right - your book club should read this book. There is so much to discuss: love, guilt, justice, redemption, religion, loss. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me in this tour; to read more opinions about this book, check out the full tour. To learn more about Wiley Cash, check out his website, like him on Facebook, or find out what he's thinking about by following him on Twitter.
Now for the good news! I have one copy of A Land More Kind Than Home to give away (sorry, U.S. residents only). To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite novel set in the south. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, January 27th.