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Barbara Taylor Sissel's THE VOLUNTEER

5.0 out of 5 starsIf you love Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, read Barbara Taylor Sissel

Another richly told story from a wonderfully talented author. Barbara Taylor Sissel weaves beautiful novels from fine, unexpected threads. Characters are complex and thoughtful. Places are fragrant and real. Conversations ring true and meaningful. Plots unfold with startling but graceful turns. This is a terrific author I want everyone to discover. She does an amazing job of first making us care about these people, pinging curiosity just enough with the mystery surrounding the codex, then pretty much tearing our hearts out with the beautifully written final chapters.

THE VOLUNTEER is a satisfying read, and that's enough in itself, but I think book clubs will find a whole additional dimension for discussion. Beyond the big questions that gray the core topic of capital punishment, there's the complicated realm of family relationships, the definition of "the honorable thing" and whether or not it's even possible to redeem oneself by living or dying for a private cause.

This is the kind of indie fiction I'm thrilled to see: a beautifully crafted book by a creative, accomplished author.

Originally posted on Amazon.com as Joni L. Rodgers.

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