Writer: Jenny Wingfield
Publisher: HarperPress 2011
Bought at: The Book Depository (USD 4,60- bargain price!)
Samuel Lake was a good preacher, but his views and ways sometimes got him into trouble, just like what happened in 1956, when he was voted out by his congregation and had nowhere else to live. Samuel decided to take his family to his mother in law’s house in Arkansas, and tried to figure out what he’s going to do with his life. In Arkansas, Samuel’s family faced with many demons and temptations: Samuel’s old lover from the past, their weird relatives, and the worst of all, a neighbor who looked like a demon in disguise. And when Swan, Samuel’s only daughter becoming a victim of their neighbor’s devilish plan, Samuel’s life turned upside down.
I bought this book simply because of its lovely cover and title. I also read some good reviews about this book so my expectation was quite high. Turned out, this is not my cup of tea. Instead of a warm cozy southern read, this book was actually a story told in stuttering voice, did not have a nice flow and interesting characters inside.
Some reviews were comparing Swan Lake with Scout Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird, and I was very interested to know more about Swan. Apparently, this book was written in third person’s point of view. Swan was not the main heroine and I could not relate to her as much as I wanted to. The characters were simply one dimensional. The good guy like Samuel was very angelic, representative of God itself I guess (considering the author’s choice of Samuel’s profession), and the bad guy, the neighbor Ras Ballenger, represented the devil.
There was nothing mysterious about this book. The conflict was too flat, the characters were too predictable, and you can not help but feeling impatient reading the book. It’s a pity because the premise itself was actually quite good- southern life in the 50s always had a bit of charm. I think it will be better if the writer wrote in first point of view- using Swan’s voice for example, to let us at least to relate more toward the main character. I can’t sympathize to Samuel or his wife, Willadee, whose marriage was portrayed as a very perfect one, especially with the unnecessary subplot of Samuel’s old lover (who was quite a sympathetic character in my opinion).
Overall, I can say this book is just not my cup of tea. The way it was written made it even worse.