Monday, January 11, 2010

The Virgin of Small Plains - Nancy Pickard

the virgin of small plains
nancy pickard
c. 2007
336 pages
completed 1/11/2010

read for: tbr challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Abby Reynolds braked her truck on the icy highway, startled by what she imagined she saw off to the side of the road.

In January of 1987, a young woman is found frozen to death on a cattle ranch in Small Plains, Kansas. She goes unidentified into her grave, the whole town pitching in to pay for her funeral and tombstone. Over the years, the girl becomes simply known as "the Virgin" and local legend speaks of her almost as someone with saint-like qualities. Now it is 17 years later, and three teenagers, whose lives were forever altered on the night of the Virgin's death, have come back together as adults to answer the unanswerable questions and reveal the hidden secrets of their pasts and the life of the Virgin.

This book has been on my To Be Read list for over a year (though if I'm honest, so have a lot of books). When I got it from the library and read the back cover I had serious trouble remembering why I had put it there in the first place. I don't tend to read a whole lot set in modern times. So I kind of went in to this without huge expectations. I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN. I know, I was so surprised by how completely hooked I was. I'm sure I had other things I should have been doing this weekend but nope! I was reading my book and that was good enough for me.

I think one of the major draws for me were the characters. I was so interested and invested in them. I felt like they were very real. They had genuine confused emotions and they made stupid decisions sometimes, but those decisions were very reflective of their characters. I was also very happy and impressed with the connection the characters had between their teenage selves and their adult selves. Sometimes when books jump back and forth in time like this I can't envision both versions being the same person. But in this case you could easily see how these kids grew up to be these people.

Throughout the whole novel I was continually coming up with one wild theory after another to explain all the secrets and mystery, and there were definitely some instances where my predictions turned out true. I know when that happens sometimes you feel like the book is too predictable, but I don't think I ever felt that way even when my theories were coming true. Instead I just felt vindicated in a sort of "see, I told you so!" kind of way. And maybe that's because my theories weren't so much predictions as they were hopes to justify my love for certain characters.

2010 is definitely starting out well in the reading department!



Diane said...

I just read somewhere that this author has a new book coming out in Spring. I have never read anything by her but I gather she has a following.

Great review!

Veronica said...

Nice! I will definitely have to check it out because this book was great. Thanks for letting me know. :)