The Crocodile Bride

Hub City. Apr. 2022. 296p. ISBN 9781938235917. $26.
DEBUT Pedersen’s stunning debut depicts difficult subjects like alcohol addition, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. It is the summer of 1982 in Fingertip, LA, and 11-year-old Sunshine Turner feels quite alone. The town has one road and two children, Sunshine and her cousin JL. Sunshine holds her own coming of age and her father’s hardships as secrets she believes she must endure in order to keep the peace. But other women in her family have their own secrets. While Sunshine is the central figure, the legacy of family trauma is told by several generations of Turner women. Ultimately, that trauma can subside when women share their secrets, stumbling over the language needed to tell what happened both around and to them. Readers of Southern writers such as Dorothy Allison or Kaye Gibbons may find the plot predictable but nonetheless enticing, with suspenseful moments of unforeseeable consequences.
VERDICT Fans of fiction about Southern women or about the formative years of girlhood will love this quick, captivating read that tugs at the heartstrings.
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