I love finding new authors and I would love to introduce you to Heather Bell Adams. Her debut novel, Maranatha Road begins in the spring of 1998 set in the fictional town of Garnet in western North Carolina and tells the story of two women. It is the coming of age story of Tinley Greene, a seventeen-year-old local who has lived her whole life in a trailer with her parents located on the Haughtreys’ land. It is also the story of Sadie Caswell, a grieving mother who blames Tinley for her son’s death.
Maranatha Road reveals two sides of the story, the woman who loved Mark Caswell and the mother who raised him. As they grapple with the aftermath of his death, each woman only sees the story through her own grieving eyes and neither woman has compassion or consideration for the other.
Alone, Tinley struggles to make a life for her baby, but Mark’s ghostly presence appears to her often, and she has trouble imagining a future without him. She’s overwhelmed by the thoughts of the things she could have done. Orphaned and an only child, she must find her way alone. She finds rejection when she seeks help from the one person, who she feels might understand.
Reeling from the loss of her son, Sadie disconnects from her husband and the town seeking refuge at her sister’s house in Greenville. When she returns home, she continues to keep her distance from her husband. It isn’t only grief weighing her down, but shame over her actions after his death. She considers what she said to Tinley and wishes she could have done things differently.
Adams’ story is rich in setting details. The people are ordinary, just the type you would expect to find in a small Southern town. The characters aren’t dark or imposing, but ordinary people who struggle to make sense of the past and make a life for the future.
About the cover: It makes me think of fall days in Carolina. I could easily picture Tinley and Sadie in their surroundings.