From Publishers Weekly
Dorrell's sweet, if somewhat predictable, first novel is a tale of three unlikely soulmates who find love, truth and redemption in smalltown South Carolina in the mid-1950s. The protagonist, textile heiress Peggy Nickles, enlists an elderly black minister and a handsome, itinerant stranger to help her renovate a dilapidated church and cemetery she has recently purchased. Bemusement becomes rage among the town folk, especially Peggy's sisters, when they learn that she plans to give the historically white church to a black congregation. The minister and the stranger also suffer alienation from family and friends, trials that bring the three closer together as they restore the property and face their brokenheartedness. As Peggy loses herself in the daily task of clearing brush and vines out of the cemetery, her labor becomes an apt metaphor for each main character's tentative, earnest search for truth about his or her own family history. Dorrell ably weaves these personal stories into the larger story of Southern racial strife, depicting interracial friendships as early, faltering attempts at repairing the breech rather than easy solutions to centuries of oppression. Although the novel's central romance is telegraphed from the beginning, Dorrell creates a believable bond between these characters as well as considerable sexual heat, despite the chastity of their premarital love affair. While most of her characters speak as if they were well educated, and occasionally as if they were living today rather than 50 years ago, they are emotionally authentic, and this in itself makes Dorrell's first effort a delight.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Linda Dorrell is a regular contributor to Pee Dee Magazine, a regional South Carolina publication, and has been featured in Southern Living. A former reporter, editor, and public relations writer, Dorrell resides in Effingham, South Carolina.
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