The Mystic Marketby Ruth Perkinson
Never certain of her personal beliefs, Blair is plunged into anguish and questioning when the local high
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Being a plain Jane has never bothered Blair Wingfield, especially since it suits her job as a deputy sheriff. Ruggedly beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a town on the edge of vast stretches of wilderness, and the present has caught up with a vengeance.
Never certain of her personal beliefs, Blair is plunged into anguish and questioning when the local high school’s star forward commits suicide, leaving behind bitter accusations of anti-gay bullying. The girl’s story galvanizes young attorney Emma Jacobs into leading the charge against the school district’s failure to protect one of its own.
Beset with family troubles, stunned at her own soul-searching and caught between the law and politics, Blair tries to find some semblance of calm and control. But every time she clashes with Emma there is little of either to be found. Something else entirely wants to grow out of Blair’s uncertainties...
Ruth Perkinson (Sterling Road Blues) confronts the tragedy of teen suicide amidst the hope, courage and faith of a small town and newfound belief in love.
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I have read and enjoyed all of Perkinson's novels to date. Beginning with Vera's Still Point and especially with Piper's Someday, Breaking Spirit Bridge, and with Sterling Road Blues, Perkinson has written a long essay that weaves through each book about the outcasts and the misbegotten, the forgotten and the disenfranchised, those characters who live on the fringes of society, those who we look away from or disaprove of or ignore. The Mystic Market is no different except in its selection of a whole cast of miscreants and malcontents. Writing sometimes as lyrical as poetry, with an unwavering eye on the unattractive and the pleasing, and with an uncanny skill at getting us to go with her inside these people, Perkinson shows us all once again that living on the fringe is still living, that we all have lives that matter. Main character Blair, a deputy sheriff in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, lives decidedly outside the purview of God and people. She has no faith in God, but does have an ongoing argument with the Supreme Being. She takes care of her brother Aaron, wheelchair bound but otherwise much freer in every sense of the word than his sister. Other fringe people are Fannie, the Mystic Market's in-house loony and fortune teller, who uses her craziness to make portentous and unfathomable pronouncements. Fannie's sister Diane who owns the Mystic Market, a ramshackle collection of buildings that attract tourists and townies both, Emma, Fanny's daughter, an attorney and object of Blair's secret affections. All these characters are woven together by the tragic suicide of a high school girl and its affect on Blair and the town. Don't think that this is a sad story. The Mystic Market is at times quite funny. This is ultimately a story of redemption, of finding faith and love as well as the intrinsic human value we all share.