Grave Secrets, by Marlene Austin was Courtney’s A book. I finished it a few days ago, but I’m finally getting around to the review.
Grave Secrets was significantly better than Pages from Our Past. In Pages, the author was very… I’m really trying to find the right word…. She wasn’t immature in her writing (Pages was at least her third book)… Amateurish? I think that’s the right word. She just made a lot of what I would consider to be amateurish mistakes, such as switching point of view without a clutch, loose dialog that rattled off like a movie script OR was always just a bit too perfect, unbelievable characters, and, perhaps the one I disliked the most, unnecessary and irrelevant plot elements. For example, Pages adds quite a bit of detail about a “secret” organization that apparently the main character’s entirely family is involved with and has been for five generations. Does this organization ever play a part in the book? Nope. Not a bit.
But this is not a review of Pages…. The only reason I bring that up is because Grave Secrets was NOT that way. Austin is NOT an amateurish writer, and Grave Secrets was a solid entry in the field of LDS literature.
About my only complaint is that the plot seems twisted a few times and gets a bit lost in Bethany’s (the main character) own thoughts. Not that it doesn’t work; it could be tighter, though. As I think about it, I guess I found the ending a bit off. I won’t say more because it’s a pretty big spoiler, but I will say that by the time the ending rolled around, I had predicted almost everything, including the name of the mystery woman. That doesn’t make it unenjoyable, just not as enjoyable.
One thing I did appreciate was that Austin took this book as LDS fiction without ramming it down my throat. In Pages, the LDS factor was pushed again and again and again in ways that were frustrating and difficult to find palatable. That isn’t to say that I’m not comfortable with my religion (I am), but I found the characters in Pages difficult to digest because everything was so in-your-face.
In the end, I would probably not pick up another book by Arnold (the author of Pages), but I would be okay selecting another work from Austin.
I rate it 3 out of 4 stars.
For the record, I was really kind of glad to see that both Courtney and I showed up with LDS books for the letter A. It was nice to do a direct comparison between the two of them.
Tonight, we’ll be back in the library for the letter B! I’m leaning towards a sci-fi because I haven’t looked at one in a while. I don’t know what Courtney is shooting for.