Saturday, November 1, 2014

A New Review for Your Reading Pleasure

G. (Gail) Elizabeth Kretchmer's book, The Damnable Legacy of a Minister's Wife, has a very interesting premise.  The narrator is Beth Mahoney, who just passed away 6 months ago.  Beth, and her husband, Ryan, were mountain climbers.  Beth's dying wish is for Ryan to climb Denali, in Alaska, which is the highest peak in North America.  The real reason is that she wants Ryan to tell another climber, Lynn Van Swol, that 13-year old Frankie is really Lynn's granddaughter.  And Frankie's mother, Raina, is the baby that Lynn gave away for adoption at birth.  Confusing?  Not really.

This is a book with a lot of pieces.  But, despite that, I didn't have any trouble staying with the stories (which must mean that Gail did a masterful job!).  And although I'm not a big fan of the otherworldly in fiction, unless it's scifi or fantasy, I had no trouble believing that Beth was actually hovering above Ryan, Lynn, Frankie, Raina, et al, commenting on all that was happening.  I'll believe anything, if it's done well.  And this, just like The Lovely Bones, was done well.

There were a couple of other features in this book that I enjoyed.  One was learning some things about mountain climbing.  If you know me at all, then you know that there couldn't be anything I know less about than mountain climbing!  And there's lots I don't know anything about.

I also got a kick out of a scene fairly late in the book which related to Joni's (my wife, in case you didn't know) maternal grandfather.  He was sponsored by a cousin to come over to America, through Ellis Island, from Europe.  His cousin met him, took him to a park bench, told him he was going to get him some food, turned and left, and didn't come back.  A kindly stranger ended up taking him in.  This was similar to one of the characters in Gail's book.  That was cool to read.

The last thing to mention is that I now understand why Gail and Chris Mason (author of Boundaries:  A Love Story, which I reviewed earlier this month) toured together.  Although each of their books couldn't be more different in terms of the theme, they end up having a very similar feel to them.  I consider them to be companion novels.  And I recommend both.

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