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Author: Martha Bennett Stiles
Publisher: Gnomon Press
Writers are wonderfully creative beings, but sometimes a story is so intimate that you wonder if it’s biographic in nature. Lonesome Road’s main character is Ruth Brough, a mother who lives through one of the worst nightmares any mother can face—that of a missing child. Thanks to Martha Bennett Stiles suburb story telling, I can’t help thinking that Ruth is real. The reader’s experience is too real to be just fiction.
Lonesome Road isn’t the run-of-the-mill crime investigation plot. The story isn’t about the detective, the criminal, or even the child. We’ve already read those stories. Instead, Ms. Stiles gives us an almost voyeuristic peek into the mother’s heart.
Only Ms. Stile’s purposeful, intense, and flowing language kept me going once I knew what was coming. I’m glad I kept going, but I shook my head silently to myself the whole way through. When I was overcome with recognition, I stopped reading—yes, that is exactly what I might do. When I was overcome with reality, I stopped reading—did the author live this, I wondered.
The truth is, that’s just storytelling at its best.
Ruth Brough is a blissfully happy, albeit somewhat naive stay-at-home mom who helps her husband on their horse farm. Ms. Stiles paints a serene and picturesque life, shattered by the unthinkable. Despite the event’s horror, Ruth’s story is one of hopeful coping—if I do this, then Lang will come home… yes, that is exactly how I would get through each day I think.
During the ordeal, we meet a variety of characters. Albert Blount, the black detective assigned to the case, deals with the subtle racism still alive and well in central Kentucky. Ms. Stiles balances his experiences nicely by giving him a sister who’s not so fond of whites. It’s a tough subject, but the author handles it with sensitivity and honestly. Ruth’s friends—a poor mountain girl who leaves home to find a better life and a debutante socialite—provide insight into the community’s character. Ruth’s husband finds ways to distract himself when he can’t share his grief. Through it all, Ruth remains steadfast and determined—If I just…
Perhaps what I appreciate the most about this story is the creative, yet succinct and forthright way the author shares the details of Ruth’s struggle. Ms. Stiles never wastes a word and every word is perfectly poignant, just to the degree necessary—never more or less than is needed. Ms. Stiles set the characters and plot quickly. Before you know it, you’re totally caught up in events. With each new character, I recognized pieces of myself. I cared about every character.
Be prepared for a few late nights because you won’t want to put the book down. You won’t be able to put the book down.
The above review was contributed by: Susan Sales Harkins: Susan is a software consultant and the author of several articles and books on database technologies. She and her husband, William, collaborate on children's non-fiction. Click Here to read more of Susan’s Reviews
To read Susan's Interview With Ms.Stiles CLICK HERE