Patti Abbott has launched a great idea. I've stolen her explanation and pasted it directly here.
This is the first of what I optimistically hope will become Friday recommendations of books we love but might have forgotten over the years. I have asked several people to help me (This is where I come in) by also remembering a favorite book. Their blog sites are listed below. I also asked each of them to tag someone to recommend a book for next Friday. I'm worried great books of the recent past are sliding out of print and out of our consciousness. Not the first-tier classics we all can name, but the books that come next. Here's my choice.
I think it is a great idea so here is my pick ...
I read Rock Orchard by Paula Wall right after it came out in 2005. The characters and author's voice grabbed me from page one and never let go.
The novel centers around the Belle women of Leapers Fork, Tennessee.
"Some women can touch a man and heal like Jesus. The man who sees sunrise from a Belle woman's bed will swear he's born again."
The author paints these women an their family tree beautifully and with prose that is the very definition of Southern fiction. The story centers around Charlotte and her niece Angela. I guess you could call it a romance or Women's Fiction if you really wanted to but regardless of genre you the novel is a well-written piece of darkly humorous fiction.
Charlotte is the richest, and I'd say the smartest, woman in town. But her late night strolls through the cometary, or rock orchard, that sits alongside her property leads a few townsfolk to talk. And no one is surprised when her head-strong niece Angela turns up pregnat and give birth in a flowerbed. No one knows who the father is and Angela ain't telling but the new doctor in town becomes smitten with the younger Belle woman despite the fact he is engaged to a proper Bostonian gal who is "as pure as pasteurized milk."
Charlotte clashes with the new preacher in town of several issues including religion but he too falls for the Belle charm.
I'm not doing justice to the plot but for me this novel is about character and voice. Both shine, and after I read this I kept expecting to hear great things about this novel. Maybe it made a few best seller lists but at the time Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code seemed be the the only novel people's lips. I never read that bestseller, but I did read The Rock Orchard, and trust me, you should too.
Now to designate someone for next Friday. I'm going to pick three people because I never follow the rules and I don't know if any of them will play along or not. The first two are fellow writers from my town and I'd like to see them blog more and maybe this would give them cause to do so. Katrina Kimble, Jennifer Archer(She is multi-published herself and her books are all good reads as well, but I wanted to choose a novel from an author I don't personally know just to broaden the scope of this mission)
And I'm also going to tag uber-reader Shauna Sturge who blogs over at The Coffee Shop.
And be sure to visit Patti's blog for a list of other bloggers who are recommending books this week.