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Under the Mayhaw Tree Paperback – March 19, 2015
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My interest was captured from the very first page and stayed that way through the last page. I don't even know where to start when it comes to talking about Drew and Allison. Their situations were interminable and unbearable. I wanted to reach into the screen of my e-reader and liberate them from their tormentors or throw it in a fit of anger for all that happened to them. Luckily, I persevered as did they.
Charlotte Boyell-Compo did a fantastic job at making certain tough moral issues easy to overlook. It just made it that much easier to be sympathetic towards Drew and Allison. For those readers who have trigger warnings, there are going to be a lot of moments in this book when you'll feel sick. I know I did. I don't condone violence however I was surprised to see how blood thirsty I was when it came time for Drew to finally have the upper hand. I found it very easy to forgive him for the sins he committed while finding it impossible to forgive others who had committed the same or even worse sins. I loved Allison. She faced so much but was so strong. I admired her for the strength she had. I really do wish she'd taken action sooner.
I'm trying very hard to convey how amazing this book was and I feel like I'm failing at it horribly. Truly this is a book that needs to be read in order to understand the magnitude of how amazing this story is. The lows are unbelievably low and you can't help but be astounded by them. The only aspect of the story that was unclear was the time period. I can't help but think this could only happen in an era long gone, because this happening in today's world seems impossible. Now that I know of Charlotte Boyett-Compo and I've had my mind blown by one of her books, I will certainly check out her previously published back list of over 100 books.
However every part of the story was necessary in order for the author to give the characters the conclusion, and closure, they needed.
The story shows how people in small towns can close ranks, even against one who should be considered 'one of their own'. The people in this small town are just awful. I seriously found myself hating these characters. For an author to make me hate someone, well several someone's, purely based on how she writes their stories is pretty amazing.
I willed both Drew and Allison to just hold on and work through things. I was sure by the end of the story there would be the happy ending they both deserved. But the route the author makes her characters take while vying for that happy ending was tough to read. They don't seem to be able to catch a break at all.
This is more, much much more, than a simple love story. This is more of a battle to triumph over petty people, abusive people, people who would rather follow like lambs instead of standing up for someone else.
There are a few who do stand by Drew and Allison, and try to make their lives easier, if not better. But they are fighting against prejudice.
This was a well written story, the characters jumped out of the pages and into my heart throughout. Thoroughly enjoyed the story.
If I'm being 100% honest this type of story/style of writing is not really something I enjoy. I still can't decide if this is a modern story just set in some backwoods county where the residents are stuck in the early 1900's or if it's supposed to be from a time years ago. The characters in this story are so narrow-minded and judgmental in an old-fashioned way that I can only hope doesn't exist nowadays.
For a majority of the book I wanted to just stop reading or physically toss my kindle across the room. However, the lay 1/4 of the book.when Drew and Allison were on a path of revenge and righting was had been wrong for so long, I found that I couldn't put it down. I NEEDED redemption for the two of them and everything they had been through.
Now that I've finished the book I can't say that I loved it, but only because it was SO different from anything I usually read. Which could be considered a good thing too. I just know that the writing was good enough that I felt compelled to finish and see where everyone ended up and it was so worth it when I did finish.
*I received an ARC from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review
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