‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ by Wiley Cash
I was very kindly sent an advance review copy of this novel by Alison Barrow at Transworld Publishers. Wiley Cash, the author of this book, was inspired by a true story. This is his first novel and it is set in North Carolina where he lives. It is being published here in the UK by Doubleday in hardback on 29th March 2012.
‘A Land More Kind Than Home’ is a spellbinding and heartbreaking story about cruelty and innocence, and the failure of religion and family to protect a child. It shows how people can take their faith too seriously and how this can sometimes lead to harm.
One Sunday, nine-year-old Jess Hall watches in horror through the crack of a window of a church as his older autistic brother is smothered during a healing service in the mountains of North Carolina. The unimaginable and totally shocking violence that follows has to be untangled by the local sheriff. This story is narrated by three of the main characters; Jess Hall whose brother has been killed, a religious woman who had concerns about the pastor and his behaviour, and the sheriff who has had his own tragic past. What happens at the end of the story is awful.
I really enjoyed this novel. Gripping all the way through, this is one of those books that you just want to keep on reading. It has been very well written and the words flowed easily. The characters came across as so real and I felt at times as if they were speaking out loud telling their stories to me, accents and all. I do hope I don’t come across any wooden crates containing snakes though!
I give this book 4 out of 5.