cover image Summer of the Redeemers: 2a Novel

Summer of the Redeemers: 2a Novel

Carolyn Haines. Dutton Books, $22.95 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-525-93787-6

Surprising events, most of them sinister, catch the reader unaware in this coming-of-age story set in rural Mississippi in 1963. Narrator Rebekkah Rich, an independent and smart 13-year-old, is secretly thrilled to be staying at home on Kali Oka Road for her summer vacation. Busloads of religious zealots from The Blood of the Redeemer Church have set up headquarters at the end of the street, and, even more intriguing, a glamorous young woman, Nadine Andrews, has moved in nearby with her show horses and has promised to give the delighted teenager riding lessons. Kali Oka is drenched in history and haunted by tales of a murdered baby, stories never far from Bekkah's mind as she spies on the grimly repressive church members and becomes further involved with Nadine, who seems to be behaving in an increasingly bizarre and dangerous fashion. Meanwhile, the civil rights movement is reaching Kali Oka and Bekkah's parents, liberals and intellectuals, are at risk from local racists. While her parents are out of town, Bekkah digs deeper into myth and reality. Why are there so many new graves on Redeemer property? Who is the woman, naked underneath a bloody dress, who seems to be following her? Harrowing, richly atmospheric and sharp-edged, this hardcover debut maintains suspense until its final pages. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates . (June)