"Eloquent, lyrical, and richly textured . . . There is no one quite like [McCrumb] among present-day writers. No one better either." —San Diego Union-Tribune
With a career spanning decades, and superlatives from reviewers nationwide--whose bestselling novels have been named Notable Books by the New York Times and the LA Times--this is one of Sharyn McCrumb's most cherished novels.
The stage is set for family drama when Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons come home to build him a coffin made from the special cache of rosewood he has saved for this purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman, Nora Bonesteel, prepares another box—to be buried with him. Among them, a real estate developer is hovering over the family's farm bringing secrets and tensions to the surface.
In a style both lyrical and beautifully detailed, with a narrative that flows from Native American lore and the burnished tales of Daniel Boone—up to the sharpest, and keenly realized landscapes of Appalachia today, The Rosewood Casket is a novel as hauntingly beautiful as the mountains that gave it charge--and a stunning addition to our collection of McCrumb Ballad novels.
Two missing children, unscrupulous land grabbing (past and present), a shooting, a manhunt and visits from both an angel and a ghost are rendered with little suspense or mystery in McCrumb's fourth ballad novel, following the bestselling She Walks These Hills. As Randall Stargill lies in a coma in a Tennessee hospital, his four sons-a career soldier, a car salesman, a country singer and a naturalist-gather at the Appalachian family farm to prepare for his approaching death: while the men work on the handmade coffin daddy wants, their wives (one is a girlfriend) sew a quilt to line it. Old Nora Bonesteel, a neighbor and clairvoyant, brings something to tuck into Randall's coffin: a small box containing a child's skeleton. Sheriff Spencer Arrowood can't persuade Nora to tell whose bones they are; that trickle of frustration turns into a flood of bad luck when an oily real-estate developer enlists Arrowood's assistance to evict a neighboring family from their debt-encumbered farm (land that was originally swiped from the Cherokee, as McCrumb notes). The shooting of Sheriff Arrowood is a crime unrelated to the question of whose bones are in the box, though both issues are eventually resolved in the same mountain location. With few characters to care about and its low punch and puzzle quotients, this bland and cobbled tale is a miss for the accomplished McCrumb. 75,000 first printing; Mystery Guild and Literary Guild selections.
A book I reread every few years, the setting is perfectly set in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A book to remember
This book is simply a beautiful story......a book to remember.