Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shunned: Outcasts in the Land By Cynthia Hearne Darling Review

Amos, a small town minister in New England, is horrified. His wife Carrie has been jailed for vandalism against Jett Pharmaceuticals, her retaliation for their son John's death by a drug overdose. Amos's own reaction to his son's death is to speak prophetically on Hell and punishment through preaching and conducting public meetings. Public reaction is fierce and unforgiving against the couple Released from jail, Carrie forms a group, including skeptic Allan, CEO of Jett, to expose harms caused by antidepressants. 

She also confronts Dr. Monroe, John's university counselor, who engineered the boy's death. He is infuriated and threatened by Carrie. Monroe schemes to punish Carrie by killing Amos, arranging for him to come to his office to retrieve John's falsified records, that state that their son's death was caused by the parents' fundamentalist lifestyle. 

Carrie, devastated at her husband's death, puts roses in her dead husband's hands at the funeral, as he had done for her outside the jail upon her release. Monroe sends his grossly obese wife Nellie on a cruise, but she confronts him about Amos's death upon her return. He decides to kill her also, planning the murder with delight and great precision. Meanwhile, Carrie learns that Nellie may have information to sell regarding Amos's murder. 

Allan, now a suspect in Amos's death, decides to approach Nellie himself. He drives to the house, followed by the police. He hears screams within the house. Nellie has Monroe in a death grip. The police arrive. Allan is exonerated. Monroe becomes psychotic, now locked in a mental institution. Carrie and Allan remain friends. Old Mrs. Robbins, the town's eccentric, hands Carrie a rose. The cycle is complete, she says. Carrie understands. She tells Allan he has to reread Hawthorne to understand.

Cassandra's Review-   I did not expect to be as excited and surprised by this book.  It is a real treat and I was taken that such a topic could make for this awesome read. The author has a nice style and kept me very interested. 

Cynthia Hearne Darling
Cynthia has worked everywhere from Indian reservations, mental institutions, even the U.S. Department of Justice. She prefers the reservations. The last books she has read were the short stories of William Faulkner (she understood them!)and a history about the wild frontier times in Western Kentucky. She got her dna done, which gave her a way of looking broadly at the world. 

She went to the College of William and Mary in Virginia and picked up two masters' degrees afterwards, one in public administration and one in social work. She is working on a novel about Georgetown, D.C., in the 1960's at the moment. She wishes she had home-schooled her children, but it was hard to work and teach at the same time.

Her mother used to quote Shakespeare to her, especially after a couple of bourbons, so she thinks she got the literary gene from the maternal side. Her father was a mining engineer. The family moved around, and Cynthia went to four high schools. Her novel Shunned has some personal experiences behind it: she knows how it felt to be outside the group when your shoes were not quite right or when everyone else in class knew each other.

Her book of poetry, Forty-Nine Poems, was written while she had a job that required absolutely nothing for three months. She went to the office every day and was faced with a typewriter(very old school), a dictionary and a phone. Looking back, she thinks God arranged nicely for her to write. She thanks Him.


I received a complimentary copy.

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