Last week, A Reader's Respite decided that it was time to dive into the Take Another Chance Challenge, sponsored by Find Your Next Book Here (Jenners is gonna be so proud of us!).
The first thing we had to do was to use a randomizer to pick a blog from our blogroll. This sounded like fun until the first four blogs that came up for me were NO LONGER IN SERVICE. What the hell is up with that, people? You just abandon us in our time of need? (Not to mention what that says about A Reader's Respite's laziness with updating our blogroll....sheesh, maybe we need to participate in the next Bloggiesta?)
The fifth roll of the randomizer thankfully took us to Beth Fish Reads, who does us the favor of not just quitting the book review business without letting us know. And what did we find at Beth Fish Reads? An intriguing short review of a book by Nancy Pickard, entitled The Virgin of Small Plains.
One trip to the bookstore later and we had our hot little hands on a copy. And once we started reading, A Reader's Respite couldn't put the darned thing down.
We'd like to categorize this compelling novel as a Literary Mystery (is there such a genre? If not, there is now...). You see, some 30 years ago, the body of a young woman was found during a blizzard in the rural community of Small Plains, Kansas. Who was she? Who killed her? And why did her mysterious death shatter so many lives?
Told in alternating past and present chapters, The Virgin of Small Plains is both deliberate and thoughtful, beautifully written with just enough tension to keep the reader embroiled in the story. It was, for us, the perfect blend of characterization and plot: any more characterization and the novel would have been too boring, any more plot and it would have been a mediocre thriller.
Published in 2006, this novel is readily available in paperback and we found it easily in a used bookstore. Or, you could enter to win our gently-read copy. Just leave a comment and we'll draw a random winner on February 15th!
We hope you all are actually taking the time to read our disclosures. We go to a lot of trouble just to make sure the world knows that we purchased this book. Mr. RR especially loves keeping track of how many books we are buying so he has a valid reason to bitch at us whilst he balances the checkbook.
A Reader's Respite