Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review - A Slow Burn

You may have noticed that I don't do many book reviews on here. I'm not sure why I don't--it's not like I don't read books. I read lots of books. But I'm no book review writing expert. I always feel like I'd either be gushing or dissing, and neither sounds good. So I shy away from book reviews.

But Mary DeMuth asked if I'd do this one. Yeah, I know, it sounds like I know Mary. I don't really--unless you count a couple of emails we've exchanged and a brief encounter in the hallway at She Speaks last summer where I went up to her and made a complete babbling, fawning idiot out of myself. But let's just not go there for now.

Mary asked on her blog if anyone would like to review her book on their blog and I thought, "Sure! I'm all about free books!" so I signed up. I really enjoyed the first book in her Defiance, Texas trillogy, Daisy Chain, and I wanted to read the sequel anyway, so reading it for free was just a bonus.

I have to warn you, the book I'm about to review is a tragedy. Not so much in the Shakesperian sense of a tragedy, but still, it's rough, raw, and real. If you're looking for a perky, fun, not-too-deep book I'd say go find a Sophie Kinsella and park it there for a while. But if you're looking for an edgy, deeply moving book that will really make you think, you might just want to check this one out.

Like I said, A Slow Burn is the second in Mary's Defiance, Texas trillogy. It picks up right where Daisy Chain left off, with a deeply hurting mother, Emory Chance, trying to pick up the pieces of her sorry life after her daughter, Daisy, goes missing and is found dead. (It's tragic, remember?)

Throughout the book, Emory confronts demons of nearly every kind. A mother who neglected her. Men who used her. Drugs that have nearly killed her. Guilt that threatens to undo her.

And then there is God who is chasing her.

Emory fights them all, including God, with a surprising ending that left me, truthfully, wrung out.

But that's how Mary writes. She develops characters that you care about--even the unsavory ones. She creates a setting that is as dry as the souls of the characters and that leaves you craving a nice, cold glass of water.

This is not one of those Christian fiction books that ties everything up neatly with a bow at the end, which is probably why I enjoyed it. Rather, it leaves you thinking, wondering, pondering.

And yet you see God through it all. Speaking to, pursuing, and loving His children.

Just like real life.

Even though it's disturbing in many places and very hard to read at times, this is a book that makes you think about life, about relationships, and about God's place in it all. I have a feeling A Slow Burn is going to stay with me for a long time.


  1. You've got me wanting to read it!

  2. Hooray! Linda wants to read it. Which means you wrote a compelling review. Thanks so much!

    I didn't think you bumbled! :-)

  3. Excellent review! You should try it more often... ;)

  4. Excellent review, Shelly. Sounds like a good book, but I know I can't handle it. Thanks for your honesty and admiration. It was a very well-written book, neither gushing or dissing. You should do this more often.

  5. Okay, now I've checked out Mary's website and now I REALLY want to read her books. Good job Shell!

  6. I would have to agree with everyone else... a well written book review. Do em more often. =)

  7. Linda - this looks like our next book; Shelly - Linda and I have been trading books via snail mail. Thanks for the review; can't wait to dig in.

  8. Lisa and Linda--you should really read Daisy Chain first. A Slow Burn is the second in a trillogy. Daisy Chain will help explain a lot in this book.

    What a great idea to exchange books! :)

  9. Can you read this book without reading the first book?

  10. Not really, Beth. You'll want to read "Daisy Chain" first for sure. It's good too.