Monday, February 3, 2014

The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish by Allan Stratton

Release Date: June 7, 2014
Publisher: Dundurn Group

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

During the Great Depression, times were tough for everyone including Brewster McTavish and his daughter, Mary Mabel. In exchange for their work as a handyman around the Bentwhistle Academy for Young Ladies, Mary Mabel is allowed to attend the classes alongside the more affluent girls. Through the dreariness of her days, Mary Mabel holds on to only two things - her books and her death.

When her deceased mother appears to her with the hour and manner of her death, Mary Mabel is filled with joy, setting about putting the plan into action. However, her plan goes awry when she doesn't die. Worst yet, she revives a young boy who died from electric shock. Her world is quickly turned upside as she tries to discover if this was a one-time resurrection or if there's a greater force behind her actions.

When I read the description for this book on NetGalley, I was very much intrigued and requested the book for review. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the book until I was a little over halfway through the story. There was a lot to the story, not only in the cast of characters but locations as well. The story began in a small town in Canada but soon spanned the entire continental United States.

Though the story did have a handful of main characters, the supporting cast was quite large. Many of the well-known names of the Depression era appeared in the story as it progressed, including William Randolph Hearst and J. Edgar Hoover. Though they were supporting characters in the book, their depictions were every bit as big as the papers of the day described them. Each of the main characters had their own depth and background as well, making them stand out from the crowds in the book. It was easy to despise those who thought only of themselves (Floyd and Ms.Bentwhistle) or empathize with the ones caught in the trap of fame (Mary Mabel and Doyle).

I thought the author made a good decision in setting the story within the midst of the Great Depression. The overwhelming and crushing despair of many families during these years became a beacon for those with get-rich-quick scams. People were hungry for food, for hope and for some sort of financial stability. Combining all of this, the author had the perfect recipe for Mary Mabel's meteoric rise to fame. Unfortunately, greed never really goes unpunished and the characters soon come to realize exactly what that means by the end of the book.

Because of the large cast and number of locations, the story set a good pace in the beginning but stalled a few times along the way. Though it took a little while to build the momentum, what took place in those slower-paced chapters made me empathize with Mary Mabel's plight more. Because of that, I wanted to see how things turned out for her - whether she was able to rid herself of some weighty problems and find happiness. Of course, I was completely invested by the middle of the book and couldn't wait to turn the next page.

All the trouble and schemes that poor Mary Mabel found herself in made me smile and at the same time, I wondered how she was going to break free. I also enjoyed seeing how life was during the Depression for people on each side of the monetary fence. The author painted a larger-than-life picture of those who were rich during those years and at the same time gave an accurate depiction of the those suffering without money, food and jobs. All in all, the book was enjoyable. Those who enjoy historical fiction or a rambunctious, whirlwind of tale will definitely want to pick up a copy of this book.

The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish by Allan Stratton is available for pre-order in paperback at many online retailers. You can reserve a copy at Amazon by clicking the link provided below.
The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish by Allan Stratton

No comments:

Post a Comment