This book tells the story of a remarkable girl called Valee Rose who grow up in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the early twentieth century. Recovering from abuse and tragedy, with a determined spirit she was able to triumph through several obstacles to be the most respected woman in her community and for many miles around.
The author began with a lavish description of the small mountain community and one of the families that lives there, The Roses. This was where I pretty much started to lose interest in the story or what was to come. As a reader I appreciate being able to form an opinion about a character through interaction with other characters so I could not shake the feeling that these character traits were being foisted upon me.
Owenby drag the book on and on for several pages without anything much happening. Frankly I became bored by page 23 with the storytelling. It’s like the author is telling me a story about her neighbor who she believe is very exciting but with whom I cannot relate to or give two figs about. Where is the appeal?
After starting out very rough, I was pleasantly surprised when the plot started to unfold. Valee Rose’s character started to show a kind of quiet strength that is synonymous with literary heroines of some repute. Perhaps I was too quick in judging this book on the onset and its slow beginning. Around page 110 the book picked up and I was captivated for a bit. However, just as it picks up, it slowed right down again and frustration sets in once more.
Another thing that I find irritating is there are just too many narratives when a new character is introduced. One can certainly understand that Owenby is trying to give some depth to the characters however she forget about the main plot and side step too much into character description ever so often when you want nothing more but for the plot to follow through nicely. Not all characters can be important. There are certain roles needed to be played but did I really need to know that much history about Aggie-The medicine woman? I think not.
The dialogue though understandably meant to be flowing and easy to read is just way too simple. I felt as if I was being spoon fed the story instead of giving me the story to understand it for myself. Without even knowing anything about the author, from the first sentence I could tell that it was her debut novel. It reveals an author trying to find her style but not quite there yet.
There is a lot of by the way sentences in the book that could have been edited out.
“Bur offered the men a brandy, which Tanner accepted, but Dr. Paris requested a good snort of Kentucky whisky. He said the wife wouldn’t allow him to have it at home, so he only got to indulge when he was out on business.”
Lines like these can be found throughout the book and always had me thinking, why this sentence wasn’t edited out from the first draft. This sentence serves no purpose and it certainly does not add to the overall story.
This was a difficult book to complete. Usually when face with these works I read the beginning, the middle and the end, however I did promise I would read and write my honest views.