2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Reader: Carrington MacDuffie
Finished on 4/18/12
Rating: 3/5 (OK)
When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the whole town of Aberdeen lined up to bet on the weight of the baby that could stretch a woman to such epic proportions. Young Truly would pay the price of her enormity. Her father blamed her for her mother’s death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her older sister and polar opposite, Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. His subsequent death left Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the town’s prodigal May Queen and Truly to eke out an existence with a rattle trap, outcast family on its rundown farm.
While Truly’s remarkable size makes her the subject of constant curiosity and humiliation by her peers, Serena Jane’s beauty proves to be both her biggest blessing and her worst curse, for it targets her as the obsession of Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans, Aberdeen’s family doctors for generations. When Bob Bob does the unthinkable to claim the prize that is Serena Jane, his actions change the destiny of all Aberdeen County.
As Truly grows older—and even larger—Bob Bob forces her to become mistress of a house she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew, Bobbie. It isn’t long, however, before Truly discovers her brother-in-law’s real reason for wanting her at his house: his hungry fascination with her physical anomalies. But when she uncovers the Morgan family secret, a centuries old shadow book penned by the first doctor’s witch-wife, Tabitha, she may have found the key to surviving Bob Bob’s cruelties.
Armed with dangerous secrets from Aberdeen’s past, Truly soon confronts life-altering moral decisions about whether or how she should use her newfound knowledge. As she practices her herbal healing, she is drawn even more tightly into the circle of the town until she learns of a betrayal so huge, even she is dwarfed by it. In the end, Truly is forced to face her own larger-than-life demons, redefine mercy, and consider the possibility that love cannot be ordered to size.
I had the ARC for this debut novel for over three years, but it wasn’t until I saw that the audio version was available through my library that I finally got around to reading (or, as my husband would correct, “listening to”) it.
I almost gave up on the novel, not really caring for the plot or characters, but something clicked around Part Two (when Truly and Serena reached adulthood) and I began to care about Truly, curious to see where the author was leading me. I wound up enjoying the second half of the novel, but it’s not one that I’m raving about, nor am I terribly anxious to read Baker’s latest release, The Gilly Salt Sisters (yes, another novel about sisters…. Hmmm).
I wonder if I would have had a great appreciation for this novel had I read it rather than listened to the audio. I didn’t care too much for the reader and now see that she’s also the reader for The Paris Wife and The Buddha in the Attic (the latter of which I have on my Nano). I’ve been anxious to read The Paris Wife, so I’ll play it safe and stick with the printed format.
Final Thoughts: Taking the ARC back to work. Maybe someone else will enjoy it better than I did.