Friday, January 03, 2014

Kimberley Graham's The Rocking Horse of Tuscumbia ~ Reviewed

By: Kimberley G. Graham
Pages: 380
Release date: August 29
Publisher: Kimberley G. Graham

A spiritually blind and deaf woman confronts her long-buried past when she returns to her hometown, the birthplace of Helen Keller. Because Amanda Crosby shares her birthday with the town’s matriarch, Helen Keller, she feels no identity apart from Tuscumbia. When the pain of her past collides with her uncertain future, she realizes she’s spiritually blind and deaf--and teetering back and forth between her husband and her lost love like one of her rocking horses.

The Rocking Horse of Tuscumbia is a brilliant combination of deep and intriguing characterization, unexpected plot twists, and a story line that tugs at the human soul. The story is told in first person narrative through the eyes of Amanda Crosby, a girl (and later, woman), who shares a birthday with the town’s historical hero, Helen Keller. Her mother, obsessively enamored with Helen Keller, turns Amanda’s birthday celebrations into elaborate, public memorial affairs. As a result, Amanda grows up feeling unloved and bitter. When her father dies, she feels more alone than ever, and things between her and her mother deteriorate further. As Amanda nears adulthood, one desire dominates her every thought: to leave the town and the pain it represents far behind. But she soon finds wounds and secrets from her past won’t stay in Tuscumbia. In fact, to be freed from her past, she must return to Tuscumbia and face it head on.
The character depth Ms. Graham crafted and the small town interactions and drama gave this novel a rich, almost literary feel. The setting, a close-knit community centered in Tuscumbia, with its unique and fascinating history and flavorful culture, added a delicious layer to a gripping and thought-provoking story. This author is truly gifted and has crafted a captivating novel. It will appeal to readers of varied genres.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Slattery

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