Bad Ground–W. Dale Cramer

 

 

Jeremy Prine is 17 and has just lost his mother to cancer. In her last letter to him, she told him to go find his uncle, the brother of his long-dead father, and stay with him no matter what. His uncle has something, his mother wrote, that she couldn’t give him and Jeremy has something she could not give his uncle.
Jeremy takes off in search of his uncle and finds him in a mining outfit under the nickname, Snake. Snake carries guilt and severe burns from the accident that took the life of Jeremy’s father and he does not welcome Jeremy’s intrusion into his routine. Jeremy gets a job at the mine in an attempt to get closer to his uncle and to prove his manhood. The work bulks up his frame and helps him ease into manhood.

Along the way, he expands his own vision of God and opens the eyes of those around him to God in their lives.

Cramer writes a compelling story about masculinity and the rough road to manhood in which Christianity is one element that contributes to the plot rather than tries to drive it.

I almost gave up on this novel less than ten chapters into it, but I’m glad I stuck with it. ┬áThe last ten chapters made it well worth the slow start.

Finished 1/29/2012

 

 

 

 

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Death Comes to Pemberley–P.D. James


I awaited this novel with great anticipation. Two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and P.D. James, came together. It was like a reading Reese’s.

James began the book with a recap of Pride and Prejudice. I understand why she did this, but it lacked the crisp beginning I have come to expect from P.D. James and left me wondering how many readers would have chosen this book without having some understanding of P&P.

Elizabeth and Darcy are on the eve of hosting a local ball when a hysterical Lydia shows up in the midst of a night-time storm to declare that Denny and Wickham have quarreled and someone has been shot. Investigations and a trial ensue.

I enjoyed going back into the world of Elizabeth and Darcy, but it was a surprisingly tepid world for a story that centered around a murder. Jane Austen lived in a world of carefully considered language and elaborate social conventions, but P&P is not tepid. Elizabeth seems tepid about her children and only manages in one scene to demonstrate much passion for her husband. Darcy is the most fully developed character. He wrestles with his motivations in dealing with Wickham’s murder charge and those insights make him 3D in a largely pleasant but flat world.

Lydia is still a babbling idiot. Wickham is still a handsome bastard. Bingley is almost invisible and Jayne is only slightly more drawn than Elizabeth.

I read an interview with P.D. James, who expressed her hesitation at trying to please Austen fans. I guess we’re just a tough crowd.

Finished 1/20/2012