Novels That Will Make You Laugh and Cry
These novels will elicit a range of emotions from tears to laughter.
A Land More Kind Than Home
By Wiley Cash
William Morrow, $24.99
What a great debut novel! Wiley Cash tells a story of lives come full circle in a little community in the Appalachian Mountains.
"Write what you know," other writers will say. Cash, who grew up in Gastonia, looks back to his childhood to create the main characters in the novel, which is told from the perspective of Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife who, for years, has been keeping the children of her church at her home during Sunday services because she doesn't feel comfortable about the preacher; Jess Hall, a third-grade boy who must face things no one, especially a child, should have to face; and Clem Barefield, the local sheriff, whose own tragedy has marked him forever.
As the story unfolds, it is at once a mystery in the vein of another North Carolina writer, John Hart, and a literary tour de-force like a Lee Smith novel.
Cash now lives in West Virginia, where he is teaching English and creative writing at Bethany College.
This is a book you shouldn't miss.
The Garden of Happy Endings
By Barbara O'Neal
I found this novel difficult to put down once I started reading it. Elsa Montgomery, minister of a Unity church in Washington, has a crisis of faith when a young parishioner is murdered - and she is the one who finds the body. Her congregation eventually asks her to take a leave of absence, so Elsa goes home to Pueblo, Colo., where she volunteers at a soup kitchen at the local Catholic church.
It's difficult for Elsa to be there, especially since the priest is her former fiance. Unresolved feelings erupt on both sides, and Elsa also has to deal with her sister, Tamsin's, personal crisis.
Working on a community garden with church members and youngsters helps bring Elsa to the realization that her faith is still there, hiding inside her heart - and introduces her to a new relationship.
Diary of a Mad Fat Girl
By Stephanie McAfee
This is once of the most hilarious books I have read in quite a while. The book was self-published as an e-book in 2010. It ended up on The New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists.
Graciela "Ace" Jones, of Bugtussle, Miss., is a high school teacher who can best be described as "feisty." She is ticked off at her friend Lilly, who has just backed out of their annual beach trip, not to mention angry at her boss, her friend Chloe's husband, and at Mason McKenzie, whose proposal has come about three years too late.
Ace decides she can take care of all of these problems and sets out to do so, leading to all sorts of mayhem and fun along the way.
Hope McAfee's sophomore novel will be as good as the first.
Tuesday Night Miracles
By Kris Radish
Psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer is trying a special idea out on her anger management class: four women from diverse backgrounds who must participate in a court-ordered program.
Grace, Jane, Kit and Leah are given assignments each week, everything from going bowling together to hitting the shooting range. During that process, they begin to open up to each other and form a bond that surprises all of them.
A great read from beginning to end.
Contact Faye Dasen at fdasen@ thepilot.com or (910) 693-2475.
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