Archive for the ‘Lori Roy’ Category

LetMeDieInHisFootstepsI recently read the excellent book Burial Rites BuriaRitesby Hannah Kent, inspired by the last public execution that took place in Iceland in 1830, so it is fitting that I move forward to Let Me Die in His Footsteps which is inspired by the last lawful public hanging in the United States, held in Owensboro, KY, in 1936. Lori Roy, winner of the Edgar Award for Best First BentRoadNovel for Bent Road,  expanded this into “…an atmospheric suspense novel which opens with Annie Holleran sneaking away to her neighbor, the Baines’ well in the dead of night. Local folklore holds that if you look into a well at midnight, you will see the reflection of your future husband. But for Annie, the events of that evening have far-reaching consequences. There’s a rift between Annie’s family and the Baines—a gulf that dates back to when Annie’s Aunt Juna, a dark-eyed beauty, cast a spell over the Baines boys. Roy’s tale moves back and forth in time between Annie’s experiences in 1952 (told in third person), and those of her mother, Sarah (told in first person) and her sister Juna, in 1936 when one of the Baines sons was accused of a terrible crime.” (Source: Library Journal)

Let Me Die in His Footsteps is steeped in atmosphere. Roy describes life on the Holloran lavender farm in rural Kentucky in vivid detail, and the mystery of what happened years ago kept me reading into the night. It’s interesting that the folklore of the early 1900s stayed in force through mid-century and Annie, with the know-how or ability to sense events before they occur, was as feared as her Aunt Juna, almost twenty years earlier. Readers will picture the broken down shack that Sarah lived in, full of shadows and cold because it was built where the sun rarely shines. The rock wall fences separating the farms is straight out of 18th century pictures.

While the story of the public hanging is a small component of the story, the mob mentality surrounding the hanging is captured expertly.

Roy’s engaging story of young love, Southern folklore, family feuds, family skeletons and crimes of passion is bound to satisfy readers who enjoy a good, well told story. And don’t forget the surprise ending, which went nicely with the story. If you’re looking for a good beach/vacation read, this is perfect.

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