06/10/2007

Shiloh Autumn (by Bodie and Brock Thoene)

So, I just finished reading the Shiloh Legacy trilogy by Bodie Thoene. The final book of the series, 'Say to this Mountain' draws together many threads from the first two books, and ends in a very encouraging and satisfying way.

I should have been satisfied. But I saw, in the library I was visiting, another book, written by Bodie and her husband Brock Thoene together. They collaborated on the trilogy of books, but Bodie was the primary writer. This one, apparently, was a more equal project.

So I picked up 'Shiloh Autumn', which is in fact complete in itself although it's also a sequel to the Shiloh trilogy. It features the same people, but doesn't expect the reader to have met them before. The authors managed this well, making the book interesting for someone like me who had just read the series, without continual flashbacks or repetition.

The story, once again, features folk in Shiloh, Arkansas, as the American economy collapses in the early 1930s. Capitalism fights with struggling workers as the bank gives mortgages with very unfair conditions, and the rich become richer - generally by dishonest means.

Brock Thoene is a historian, and I assume his research was accurate. Certainly the people and situations all seemed real - sometimes shockingly so. The writing is good, and there are some very moving moments as tragedies strike, people suffer, and the poor lose even what little they have. There's a Christian message running throughout, too. It occurs to me that this may be somewhat unusual in a book so opposed to capitalism in the USA.

I found the book interesting, and liked catching up on the characters of the Shiloh Legacy series. On the other hand, in a way I wish I hadn't read it since some of the characters became a great deal unhappier in this book and there was less of a 'happy ever after' feeling when I had finished it, although it was basically hopeful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Shiloh Autumn" is right up there on a par with Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath". It is additional evidence that the Anglo-Saxon heritage is essentially still very predatory.
Jim Miller