"Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. Read more...
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"Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn t a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them."
Suddenly thrust into the role of primary caretaker for her family following the tragic death of her husband, Ellie Robbins is appointed to serve out his term as sheriff of their rural Tennessee mountain town. The year is 1936, and her role is largely symbolic, except for the one task that only a sheriff can do: execute a convicted prisoner.
Ellie has long proven she can handle herself. But becoming sheriff is altogether different, and the demands of the role are even more challenging when she is forced to combat society s expectations for a woman. Soon enough, dark secrets come to light, and Ellie must grapple with small town superstitions and the tenuous ties she shares with a condemned killer as she carves out a place for herself in an uncertain future.
There is no one quite like Sharyn McCrumb. No one better either ("San Diego Union-Tribune"), and her luscious narrative brings her unforgettable characters to life with the pure poetry ("The New York Times Book Review") that defines her astounding novels. "Prayers the Devil Answers "combines masterful historical research and captivating folklore to make an atmospheric and suspenseful tour de force."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
A prophetic mountain game rooted in age-old superstitions about how to find a husband sets the stage for McCrumb’s (The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter) ponderous morality tale, the latest in the Ballad series. Ellie and Albert are unassuming mountain folk trying to survive in a sleepy Tennessee town after the end of the first World War. After coming down from the mountain settlement, away from their families, at the promise of steady work, Albert quickly finds himself elected sheriff of their small hamlet—a position of respect and a path to acceptance. Ellie is proud of him, but she’s not used to the town folk and maintains her mountain ways. Unfortunately, she has to make do and get used to town quickly after Albert dies of pneumonia and she is appointed to finish his term as sheriff. Though captivating in its scope and detail, a distinct wordiness and repetition may pull readers out of McCrumb’s richly textured world. An abundance of background material burdens what is an otherwise excellent exploration of one woman’s journey to save her family and find herself. Agent: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Literary Agency (May)