Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Agate Hill

On Agate Hill: A NovelOn Agate Hill: A Novel by Lee Smith

On the library stacks: Adult fiction

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Tuscany Miller is a potential doctoral candidate who wants to use old documents stashed in the home of her father and his lover as the basis for her thesis. This book is the collection of diary entries, letters, and memorabilia detailing the life of Molly Petree, an orphan who spent time living in the home, named Agate Hill.

This is a sad Appalachian post-Civil War tale. It is kind of a wandering aimless book that didn't have a whole lot keeping it together. I really disliked the beginning which is Molly's childhood diary, with its misspellings and grammar issues. But once she got to the girl's boarding school she attended as a teenager, I did enjoy the thoughts of the headmistress, her sister Agatha, and Molly. However, the final part of the book where Molly marries, has a series of awful tragedies and ends up right back in Agate Hill was just depressing.

The whole book just seemed so implausible. I can't imagine any person writing to a professor in the flippant tone that Tuscany uses. I didn't understand why Agatha would write huge letters to her sister since they lived together and worked together at the same school. And how did the artifacts of the headmistress and her sister end back up in Molly's possession? In addition, so much of the emotional turmoil was never really explored. Murders, death and abuses were just kind of presented and never dealt with by the characters in any meaningful way.

Also reviewed by: A Life in Books ~ Your link here?

Book 80 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 54 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2006), Book 36 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 47 of 50 for the New Author Challenge

Source: BookMooch


Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

Gkad to know I should avoid this one!

Andi said...

I 2nd your review. I never finished this one.

bermudaonion said...

That doesn't sound like the book for me.

Kathleen said...

This sounds like one I can skip.
Thanks for the warning.

Anonymous said...

I will skip this one. It had lot of scope though!

Stephanie said...

I bought this one awhile ago but never got to it. I am sorry you weren't a fan.