Cross a Dark Bridge

Deborah Churchman, Author Ariadne Press (MD) $14.95 (129p) ISBN 978-0-918056-08-5
The scarring power of cruelty proves more fascinating--and less predictable--than the healing power of love in Churchman's first novel, a bittersweet tale of family dysfunction and marital redemption. Nathan Deeters, 36, is a Maryland grocery-store owner resigned to a boring existence when his life is invaded by the Grasons, a madcap brood that combines traits of both the Addams family and the Simpsons. Mama Sally is addicted to junk food and fantasies of winning the lottery. Son Freddy is a surly juvenile delinquent. Daughter Missy believes that she's a character in a soap opera and is scripting her family's life. And Missy's shy twin, Gilead, harbors the dark family secret that is key to understanding the family's eccentricities. Churchman limns the Grasons' quirky personalities with care and affection through alternating first-person narratives that hide as much as they divulge about the family's past, setting up a tense climax. But the novel belongs to Nathan and Gilead, who marry and eventually find the strength in one another to exorcise their emotional demons, dissipating the narrative's undercurrent of mystery and foreboding into an uplifting promise of personal redemption. The Grasons and their invigorating peculiarities are bound to lodge more firmly in readers' minds than the plot that ultimately disarms them. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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