Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review: Eden Hill

 ISBN: 978-1496410832
(To be released:  July 1, 2016)

Description (mine):

Virgil and  Mavine Osgood are simple folks from Eden Hill - a typical 1960's smalltown USA.  They own and operate the one and only gas station in town and even though business is good as usual, their marriage seems to be stagnant.

Things get even more dicey one day, when a young go-getter name Alexander Cornelius and his pregnant wife JoAnn move into town and start building a shiny new chain service station right across the street!

For reasons that he can't comprehend, Virgil's partner and mentor Welby seems unconcerned by the new arrivals -- even to the point of being supportive of their business!

Review:

The first thing you'll notice about this book is 1960's retro feel is very strong.  From the classic car on the cover to the colors... even the chapter headings have an adorable little gas pump image incorporated into them.

Vintage product names and newspaper headlines abound as barbershop arguments center around FDR, Kennedy, and Nixon.

Whether you lived through this period, or you're just fond of its style, you'll definitely love the "look and feel" of this book.

As far of the story goes, all of the events and situations are very realistic and flow naturally.  Though the pacing is remarkably slower than my own stories, it never drags at all.  Likewise, the conflicts are strong and leave the reader just as concerned as the characters about what's going to happen.

If I had one negative thing to say, it would be that there are a lot of characters to keep straight in your head.  Basically, you get introduced to the entire town, their diverse stories, and struggles.  All this is not wasted.  It comes together to create character interactions that are natural and forms what seems to be a complete picture of the Eden Hill community.  Therefore, even the mental cost of going, "wait, who was 'Arlie', again?" serves a purpose.

There are some great fun moments in this book, like when the grocer accidentally pulls the raingutter off the church, and the continual trouble Virgil's son Vee and his friend Frank are always getting into.

There are also some tender tear-jerkers as well, like hairdresser's "depression baby" and the surprise fellowship between the white Baptist church and the "negro" (just how they talked back then) Pentecostal church from across town.

My personal favorite is a combination of both, when poor, uneducated, Virgil decides to treat his wife to an "intimate romantic dinner" (as the magazine from the hair salon calls it).  The problem is he doesn't understand what that phrase even means!  Suffice it to say it, what happens is so disastrous and sweet, that you'll be laughing and crying... both at the same time!

Summary:

In a generic sense, I think anybody not looking for anything particular, but just an all-around a good story, would like this one.

Where this really shines though, is it would be a FANTASTIC gift for somebody who lived in the 60's, a classic car buff, or somebody into nostalgia / Americana.

In fact, even though this is a "Christian book", the way the Gospel is presented in terms of real-life situations may make this a good choice for non-believers who fall into the above categories.

Live YOUR adventure!
  -E.L. Fletcher


Disclaimer:  The preceding review was done on materials sent to me for free from the publisher.  If you would like your own book reviewed, please use the contact information here on my blog (www.EdmundLloydFletcher.com) or message me through social media.