Each chapter is told by one of three main characters, Adelaide, the town mid-wife, Clem, the town sheriff and Jess. I especially like reading books that are told in this way. The story begins in a small North Carolina town with Adelaide Lynch, a seventy-seven year old woman who had left her church a couple of years earlier after the death of a woman who was being "healed" by Pastor Chambliss. After what Adelaide witnessed there, Adelaide said:
"I'd been a member of that church in one way or another since I was a young woman, but things had been took too far, and I couldn't pretend to look past them no more."
So Adelaide prayed on it and decided that the church was not a safe place for children to be and she told the pastor that she was leaving the church and taking the children with her. So once the services started, she would take the children and have Sunday school with them. When the story takes place, Adelaide had been doing that for the past ten years.
Jess Hall and his brother, Christopher (who was known as "Stump"), were two of the children that Miss Adelaide taught in Sunday school. Stump was fourteen and was mute, so nine-year old Jess always looked out for him. One day, the boys were sneaking a look into their parent's bedroom window and saw something they shouldn't have seen. And the repercussions from that event led the children into shattering events.
The author does a great job with the characters...I felt quite involved in the story, knew the characters well, and had strong feelings about the characters, including the pastor and Jess' parents. I was very impressed with the writing.
The title of the book is taken from Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again:
"[Death is] to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth."Reading just that truly explains this book. I recommend it!