Written By: Wiley Cash
Published By: William Morrow an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers January 28, 2014
Length: 240 pages
Source: E galley via Edelweiss from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Easter Quillby is 12 years old when she sees Wade, her estranged father for the first time in six years. She’s playing kickball after school, and she knows it’s him standing on a hill, watching her. She and her younger sister Ruby are orphans, living in a group home since their mother died from alcohol and drugs. Easter doesn’t trust Wade, she’d never heard her mother say anything good about him. He had signed over his parental rights to his girls. Now that their mother is gone, Wade is rethinking his actions. What Easter does remember is baseball, Wade played in the minor leagues. She loves baseball, and along with many people in the late summer of 1998 Easter is a little obsessed with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s race to beat Roger Maris’s record of 61 home runs in a single season.
What Wade can do is take his daughters, and in the middle of the night, he does just this. Ruby is young and is thrilled that her daddy has returned. Easter is skeptical but she worries her other choice is her mom’s parents, who may take them back to Alaska, people and places she doesn’t know. On the heels of Wade’s moves is a dark and dangerous man named Pruitt. Pruitt is hired to find Wade and bring back some money he’s stolen, and he has an old grudge to settle with Wade. In the girl’s corner is Brady Weller, their guardian ad litem. As a former police officer he’s got a few ideas of his own on tracking Easter and Ruby, he’s also tipped off fairly soon that someone else is looking for them, and that the girls may be in more danger than they can imagine.
The book is told in three voices, Easter, Pruitt and Brady. If you doubt that Wiley Cash can capture the voice of a 12 year old girl, let me take that fear away, he beautifully writes the emotions of a young girl who has known too much pain. Young Easter is careful with her emotions and is worried that Wade will hurt them. She is both sister and mother to Ruby. In Brady we learn of a man making up for his own mistakes and learning as much about caring for his own daughter as he is trying to help Easter and Ruby. Pruitt is a bit of an enigma, angry, brooding and explosive. His voice is frightening.
Set in Gastonia North Carolina this second novel by Wiley Cash draws you in and keeps you held tight until the very end. Cash draws a rich imagery with his words and descriptions of the area where Easter and Ruby live. In intricate detail Cash told of their life with their mother, details that made the mother in me want to cry.
This book is a story of many things, but the word journey is the one that keeps coming back to me. The journey of one young man who realized too late what being a parent might be, how it could make him rich in ways that had nothing to do with money. The journey of an older man, jaded and seeing the bad in most adults he met. The journey of two young girls who deserve a place of their own.
Wiley Cash is a master at his craft, he knows Southern culture and the ebb and flow of daily life in small towns. This book was such a pleasure to read, it went too quickly and I was sad when it ended. I highly recommend this one. Visit his website to learn more about Wiley, and see where is book tour is taking him. If you read about snow on his wedding day and book two launch day, you’ll see a video, watch it, but be prepared to cry. I did.
Here also is the trailer for This Dark Road To Mercy