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The Book of Marie by Terry Kay

Cole needs to sort out his feelings about what happened in his complicated past. He’s facing his 50-year class reunion, and with that come the questions, the flashbacks, the story of a girl he knew so long ago. She touched his life much more deeply than he seems to be willing to admit, and here she is again, resurfacing. Way back when, in a 1950’s Georgia town, she exploded on the scene with her “controversial” viewpoints about the South, civil rights, and even Cole himself. She never was liked, but she was right-no one forgot her.

The Book of Marie is an aching and heartfelt novel that flashes back and forth between the present day and the events of 50 years ago, giving the reader an interesting perspective on how a life can change so much over the years, and how it stays the same despite the passage of time. I loved the setting of high school in the pre-civil rights South, and the relationship between Cole and Marie kept me riveted to the book.

Terry Kay is an accomplished author with a long line of books to his credit. For me, reading The Book of Marie is only the first of many Terry Kay works I intend on reading. The quality of the writing style and the sensitivity towards his characters have me wishing I would have discovered his sooner, but glad I finally did. He has a real mastery for storytelling, and I can recommend it with confidence. My only warning: Finish the book alone and with tissue nearby. If nothing else, you’ll be sorry to see this one end.

Published by Mercer University Press.

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