Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Saints and Sinners of Okay County

"By the time Aletta realized the bitter smell drifting out her front door was burning kolaches, it'd been too late to save them. Inside the house, two sheets of blackened fruit-topped pastries emerged from the veil of thick smoke like a magic trick. She plunked herself down on a bar stool, a dish towel still dangling from her fingers, and watched wisps of smoke rise off the kolaches. She couldn't help but draw unkind comparisons to her own life-singed beyond recongnition, stinking to heaven's pearly gates, and most likely irretrievable. The kolaches had been a shot at making a little cash, but this was the third batch she'd ruined, the first dying from a baking powder overdose. She still wasn't sure what had gone wrong with the second."
~Dayna Dunbar

This was charmingly written first novel by Dayna Dunbar. The author tells the story of Aletta Honor, mother of 3, pregnant with the 4th, whose alcholic husband, Jimmy, has left her and the kids for greener pastures, though he shows up periodically wanting his family back. It is the summer of 1976 and Aletta is trying to hold her family together, and decides to offer her services as a psycic to the residents and visitors of her small Oklahoma town. Aletta has had her gift since she was a small child, but learned early to keep it hidden from the rest of the world. Her small bible-belt community doesn't take well to the gift she has been given and tries to shut her down, calling her work that of the devil. Throughout the story, we see glimpses of Aletta's childhood, also overshadowed by alcholism, which plays a big role in this novel. It is a touching story of one woman reaching deep within herself and coming up with the power to face head on the problems of her world and being the stronger for it in the end.
I'm off to pick up the sequel "The Wings That Fly Us Home"


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