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Touched
     

Touched

by Carolyn Haines
 

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The author of Summer of the Redeemers again probes beneath the surface of small-town life with dazzling results in this suspenseful new tale of passion and prophecy. Sixteen-year-old Mattie comes to Jexville as the mail-order bride of the local barber. In the quiet, deeply religious community, where even dancing is frowned upon, Mattie soon discovers the

Overview

The author of Summer of the Redeemers again probes beneath the surface of small-town life with dazzling results in this suspenseful new tale of passion and prophecy. Sixteen-year-old Mattie comes to Jexville as the mail-order bride of the local barber. In the quiet, deeply religious community, where even dancing is frowned upon, Mattie soon discovers the disappointments of her marriage and finds herself falling in love with another man.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Haines's fresh and suspenseful second novel (after Summer of the Redeemers) is set in 1926, in the "bleakly ugly" Bible-belt town of Jexville, Miss., where dancing is looked upon as a sin and women are expected to be docile and religious. Sold by her abusive stepfather into a marriage with a cruel and perverted man, 16-year-old Mattie Mills is isolated and lonely until she meets JoHanna McVay and her nine-year-old daughter, Duncan. Independent and assertive, JoHanna scandalizes the hypocritical community and is barely tolerated. When Duncan is hit by lightning after dancing, her survival and subsequent powers of clairvoyance are viewed as signs of the devil by the gossipy townsfolk. Anyone who associates with the McVays is vulnerable to the town's unreasonable fear and hatred. In addition to Mattie, whose marriage has deteriorated into violence and degradation, those who suffer the community's wrath include Floyd, a mildly retarded adult possessing "the trust and wonder of a child," and John Doggett, a writer who loves JoHanna. After a hurricane ravages the area, JoHanna, rightly believing that the superstitious townsfolk will blame her and Duncan for bringing it on, convinces the tightly knit, loving group of outcast friends to flee. Tension mounts to a high pitch as they are pursued and as Mattie and the McVays attempt to rescue Floyd and John, who are held prisoner by the vengeful community. Written with a languid sensuality, this rich and complex work features quirky, fully developed characters involved in an unpredictable story, with Mattie's long-awaited revenge providing a bittersweet but satisfying coda. (July)
Library Journal
The plot of this novel, a maelstrom of tornadic activity, rivals that of any soap opera; indeed, the characters would feel right at home with Montel Williams or Ricki Lake. It is 1926, and 16-year-old Mattie Mills, sold as a mail-order bride by an abusive stepfather to an equally abusive husband, arrives in a small Mississippi town. She becomes friends with JoHanna McVay, a born-years-too-soon feminist, and her daughter, nine-year-old Duncan, who is able to foresee the future after being struck by lightning. Fed up with JoHanna's behavior over the years and fearful that Duncan's disturbing new talent is the mark of Satan, the townsfolk prove once again that fear and ignorance spawn havoc. This well-written, exciting novel is recommended for most collections.Dorothy S. Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro,

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781579660062
Publisher:
River City Publishing
Publication date:
04/28/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
372
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 8.96(h) x 1.02(d)

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