is not an easy read. In fact, several times I literally set the book down and thought, “I cannot read this.” The trauma, tension and turmoil felt almost oppressive. Yet in spite of the heavy subject matters (a missing girl, an abusive husband/father, a woman dying of cancer) or perhaps because of them, I felt compelled to pick it up and try again. Eventually, I couldn’t put the book down.
The author’s multi-layered plot kept me guessing, intrigued, and at times, frustrated. Jed is a14 year old boy who believes that his best friend Daisy’s apparent abduction is entirely his fault. His search for the truth, about both Daisy and himself, is tenderly sweet and painful at the same time. Jed faces two major battles: his guilt about Daisy’s disappearance, and his fear of becoming like the angry father he loathes.
What I liked best: The characters absolutely carry Daisy Chain. I longed to reach out to comfort Jed; I detested Hap, the angry, hypocrite pastor who is more concerned with appearances than the emotional and physical well being of the family he is slowly destroying. Secondary characters Hixon and Muriel provide glimmers of light, joy and love, and prevent the book from becoming depressing.
What I liked least: For me, this was an emotionally draining book. Having lived through a traumatic childhood, the abuse scenes were difficult to endure. I also found the book slow paced initially, with some clunky verbiage that proved distracting on occasion.
Daisy Chain doesn’t supply pat answers or attempt to bring a tidy resolution to tough questions by book’s end. As I read the final page, I found myself oddly dissatisfied (or longing for closure?). I anticipated resolution that never materialized. Given that this book is the first in a trilogy, that’s understandable. Still, Mary DeMuth has crafted a well written book that is ultimately gripping. She deals with hard life issues in a painfully real manner. Daisy Chain made me smile, think, wince, and cry; hallmarks of a book worth reading.
The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance haunts the small town of Defiance, Texas. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper searches for answers in this gritty and compelling story of love and sorrow, revealing God’s hand of redemption in impossible situations. Lyrical fiction from a bright new literary talent.
From the Back Cover
The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.
In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.
Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.
About the reviewer: Julie Gillies is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to fulfill their God-given destinies. She has written over 70 articles for various publications including CBN.com, The Quiet Hour, Devotions magazine, and P31 Woman magazine, among others. She is a regular writer at A Time to Love magazine (www.juliegillies.com.) and is also a contributing writer to the books Daily Devotions for Writers and Penned from the Heart. For more of Julie’s writing or to view her speaking topics, visit her website at: