Book Review: Visiting the Sins

Posted by Katrina Roets at 9:15 AM

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In her riotous debut novel, which was awarded the 2014 bronze IPPY for Regional Southern Fiction, Melanie Denman probes the silent sacrifices of motherhood with unflinching honesty and warmhearted amusement. Set in the Bible Belt of Deep East Texas, Visiting the Sins is a darkly funny story about mothers and daughters, naked ambition, elusive redemption, and all the torment it's possible to inflict in the name of family.

Down through the decades, the lofty social aspirations of the feisty but perennially dissatisfied Wheeler women - Pokey, the love-starved, pistol-packing matriarch; Rebanelle, the frosty former beauty queen turned church organist; and Curtis Jean, the backsliding gospel singer - are exceeded only by their unfortunate taste in men and a seemingly boundless capacity for holding grudges. A legacy of feuding and scandal lurches from one generation to the next with tragic consequences that threaten to destroy everything the Wheeler women have sacrificed their souls to build.

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There's nothing like family and nothing like an author who can make their characters come alive for the reader. This book has both. Throughout this book I was reminded of the times I'd sit around the table and listen to the family stories that my grandmother would tell. No matter how many times I'd heard them, they never grew old for me. Just like those times, this book made me laugh and it made me shake my head in wonder as each of the ladies told their part. I honestly can't think of a negative when it comes to this book. I will warn you that Pokey can be a bit on the bold side with her language, so this book may not be for a younger reader, but it's nothing that a more mature reader can't handle.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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