I actually picked this book up over a month ago from the public library and promptly forgot about it until its due date. Then I renewed it online and forgot about it until the day before the new due date. Determined to finish it, I spent a very large portion of last Saturday curled up with it on the couch while it snowed.
I actually had never heard of this book and was scanning the shelves for something to catch my eye, when I stumbled upon it. It has a little blurb of recommendation from one of the library employees taped under it and they could not have been more correct in recommending this book.
The story is set in a small, rural North Carolina town in the mid-1980’s. It is told from the perspective of four different characters, the town midwife, sheriff, the younger brother, and the father. A very convincing pastor has infiltrated this small town and gained the trust of his congregation while keeping the naysayers out with faded newspapers covering the church windows. The pastor is full of evil; the midwife realizes this and instead of leaving the congregation she decides to remove the children from the situation and host Sunday School in her home. The pastor fears she will expose one of his dark secrets and agrees to this arrangement, however, this goes awry and the rest of the story deals with the consequences of multiple characters actions.
I feel like this would make such a great book for a book club. There are so many themes to explore, poverty, false profits, marriage and infidelity. (Warning, spoiler ahead) I had never considered an additional one until reading a Q&A with the author on the Amazon review here, and that is the role of the mother. There is the debate of weather or not she was a good mother or if her indiscretions caused the tragic death of her son. You could certainly make a compelling argument for either side.