It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been—a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.
When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she’s the one. They fall madly in love; happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn’t matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one.
It’s true Benjamin has little to offer; he’s a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that’s how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn’t leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10
After World War II, Benjamin Church returned to his hometown of Grinder's Corner, Alabama, thinking it was a temporary stopover -- he'd strike out and pursue a career as a mechanic. But life has other plans. Over the course of the next decade, he's made aware of the racial and economic injustices endemic to the region until a heartbreaking tragedy drives him to leave. This novel features a compelling setting, fully realized characters, and well-written prose -- though the plot is a bit rushed.
Date Submitted: July 27, 2016