Stars of Alabama

Thomas Nelson. Jul. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9780785226376. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780785226383. CF
Fifteen-year-old Marigold and child preacher Coot have one thing in common—abusive families. Marigold makes a life in the forest with her infant daughter after being rejected by her family. Marigold’s daughter disappears and leaves her with a legendary inexplicable and somewhat terrifying power. Coot escapes his abusive father, taking a load of stolen money and heading for Mobile, AL. Two migrant workers, Vern and Paul, find Marigold’s daughter and decide to raise her as their own. The offbeat family unit soon joins with a widow and her two kids. Their seeming lack of commonalities disappears in the days before World War II when they begin to travel in similar orbits and ultimately become connected under the stars of Alabama. Dietrich (The Other Side of the Bay) offers a story of love, loss, and subsequent hope set in early 1930s Dust Bowl Kansas. The folksy writing style is a hallmark of Dietrich’s storytelling and bears the tone of his podcasts and columns. Every character has some quirk and substance that will imbed them in readers’ minds like memories of an old friend.
VERDICT Dietrich is a Southern Garrison Keillor. Fans of the latter and former will be pleased.

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