The Last Word: A Novel by Kathy Herman
My rating: 4.0/5.0
This is my first book by Kathy Herman, but definitely not my last.
Thank you Audra Jennings at The B&B Media Group for sending me this book for review.
When I decided to review this for the FIRST Wild Card Tour I didn't realize it was part of a series. Usually I am very particular and have to read a series in order. But I realized I couldn't do that with the time constraints of this review. So I dove in. You know what - my brain did not explode :). Yes I think there were some things I think I could have benefited from knowing by reading the first book, but I never felt at a loss when reading this book. The author goes enough into the circumstances of the first book to understand but not so much to give away the plot of the first book completely. So I will be going back to read the first book for sure and will read the third book when it comes out.
After all of that - let me talk to you about The Last Word itself. This is a well plotted book. I enjoyed the suspense plot, the family plot and the glimpses I got into the Jessup's neighbors in Sophie Trace. I enjoyed the small town setting of Sophie Trace, which is a small close-knit community in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. I also enjoyed the characters in the Jessup family, from Brill the Police Chief mother, to Kurt the stay-at-home while running his business father, to the older daughter Vanessa who comes home pregnant from college and darling Emily, the ten-year-old who has been through so much. Each member of the family adds to the depth of the story and gives you a good glimpse of a fairly normal family who has their share of problems.
The suspense was well done, but kind of took second place to the family time, but that was okay, since it kept coming to the foreground through the book. It was well-executed and kept me hanging on until the end. I had some things figured out, but one outcome completely floored me (in a good way).
The book never came off as preachy to me. The teachable moments were handled well and never felt holier-than-thou because they came from characters that had had their own troubles. No one was perfect in the story and all the Christian teaching came from the various flawed characters which makes it easier for me to grasp and understand. I don't like books where all the characters seem preachy and perfect, it's definitely not so in this book - each one, (save young Emily) has their own problems, whether confronted in the past or affecting them now and all of them have great understanding that they will have other problems too, that Christianity does not guarantee them a perfect life.
So give this series a try, whether starting at this book or the first one in the series, The Real Enemy. It's worth the time it takes to read - I flew through this when I had a chance to read and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.
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Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009