That’s Shakespeare – Twelfth Night. And apt it is, too, for a book that at first glance seems less about the abstract concept of Redemption than about emotional repair.
Our protagonist, Lindy, has chosen her husband neither wisely nor too well, and he, although obsessed with her, is abusive and nasty. And a drunk. And a druggie. WTF WAS she thinking? Oh, right, she was thinking ‘gotcha’ because her longtime high school sweetheart got caught in the talons of the local soiled dove. What’s WITH guys, anyway? So Lindy stomps off and in a wonderful display of “I’ll show YOU” marries some jerk.
Well, why not? Her father, the local evangelical preacher, is also abusive and nasty, and is the head of the House of Redemption Church in this very small mining town in the hills of Appalachia. We tend to follow a pattern, don’t we.
Her BFF died a year ago in a single car accident that took the car over the side of a bad mountain road, and that’s been a tough one to get over for everyone concerned.
So, after one battering too many, Lindy leaves the abusive hubs, and goes back to her little hometown to find that her ex boyfriend with whom she is pretty much not speaking, is back in town working for what’s left of the local paper.
The paper is owned by the parents of her deceased friend. She decides to stay in the empty cabin of the grandmother of one of her friends. That this friend is also Black does not sit well with most of the locals of this biased Southern community.
So the first maybe third of the book is all about the set up, and the usual romance thing where the two lovers are in angry stances vis-a-vis each other, and I thought, OK, this is nice, readable, but not so unique, yawn yawn.
THEN it got interesting. Turns out the dead BFF was investigating a story, and little by little there is mounting evidence her death might not have been an accident. And as in most small towns, it seems like everyone is connected or related or involved with everyone else in one way or another.
Then it got really REALLY interesting and I couldn’t put the darn thing down.
Very good writing, great story, and interestingly enough, filled with Shakespeare quotes, because one of the characters quotes the Bard throughout the book. The quote at the top of this post is one of them.
Redemption. Think about it.
1. an act of atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology . deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.
5. repurchase, as of something sold.
There is a lot going on in this multilayered book, with redemption in its many forms playing a prominent role, perhaps even the main role.
The secret of redemption lies in remembrance.
—- Richard von Weizsaecker