I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.
The dedication in this book reads: To those who long to be free.
This story is told from the individual voices of its three most prominent characters, Ally, Vesey, and Sunila. It begins when Ally and Vesey are children – when white children are not to be friends with black children – so theirs is a secret friendship until they are found out and Vesey pays the penalty in a volatile climate of racism. Later, Ally travelled the world over when her heart’s desire could not be attained, and now at sixty years of age she comes home to South Carolina because her father died.
The tragedies and disappointments that affected Ally’s life led to her searching for peace from “the gods”, even though she was brought up to know the true God of peace. Vesey, who lives across the river – Molasses Creek – suffered poverty and racism, but he knows Jesus Christ as his source of peace. Then there is Sunila, twenty years younger but also searching for freedom and peace in her life of hard labour in India and the racism of caste in that country. Because of an unfortunate event connected with Ally (which in real life probably would not occur – but this is fiction), her life is not what it should have been.
The author has written an intriguing tale. It took me awhile to get into the story because of how it is broken up – into short chapters that jump from one person to another – but once I caught on to this it was easier to keep track. The story gradually picks up momentum, and layer upon layer the questions that are raised are answered.
One thing that bothered me was the hinting about the Lord but the outright repetitiveness about the idols and gods of man-made religions, with not much of a decision made when it was obvious the Lord answered Ally’s heart’s cries. She thanked God but it did not seem to be much more than saying, oh, He IS real. Perhaps the reader is supposed to understand that through all of Ally’s searching God was waiting for her all along.
Another thing that bothered me – and I’m being careful to not write spoilers into this review – is that Ally told a whopper of a lie near the end of the story, which I felt was very dishonouring to her friend who was an honest man. It just seemed shockingly wrong and could only lead to more pain. It simply made no sense to not tell the truth.
If you are looking for a Christian book, Beyond Molasses Creek is not near the top of my list. But if you are looking for a different kind of fiction, this could satisfy that hunger. I will say that I was moved to tears in a few places, so it definitely was not a total letdown. The reader can get pulled into the story, and I found that once past the halfway point I wanted to skip ahead to find out some things because of what was unfolding a little too slowly for my liking. (I resisted and stayed the course, though.)
Nicole Seitz has written an emotionally charged novel that I actually enjoyed, despite the points I mentioned above. I wouldn’t mind reading more of her books.
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!