Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: Crossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher

Title: Crossing Purgatory
Author: Gary Schanbacher
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publish Date: June 1, 2013
Source: I received a copy of the book from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "In spring of 1858 Thompson Grey, a young farmer, travels to his father's estate seeking funds to expand his holdings. Far overstaying his visit, he returns home to find that his absence has contributed to a devastating family tragedy. Haunted by remorse, Thompson abandons his farm and begins a westward exile in the attempt to outpace his grief.Unwittingly, he finds himself at journey's end in the one place where his strongest temptations are able to over take him and once again put him to the test. Set against the backdrop of the frontier during the years just preceding the Civil War, Crossing Purgatory tells a story of unprincipled ambition, guilt, and the price one man is willing to pay for atonement."

My Two Cents:

"Crossing Purgatory" is a historical fiction story about one man's struggle to try to atone for the sins he feels he committed against his family. This isn't a big, flashy novel. It's more quiet and subtle but still very powerful.

I really felt for the main character, Thompson. We don't get a lot of direct insight into who he is but through his actions, we, the readers, are able to understand how he leaves his farm, which provides a constant if not humble source of living, to venture to parts unknown out on the trail to go out west. This is a man who is aching. I did wish that we got a little more insight into exactly why what happened to his family affected him in this way. I wanted to be able to understand more about his motives to basically create a new life in a place that he never knew before. This story kind of keeps you at arm's length though.

Most of the book is focused on Thompson dealing with the loss of his family as well as how he makes his new life. We get to see the people he meets along the trail and how he becomes a farmer out west. His life is very different now and it was fascinating to read about how he dealt with the changes.

The writing in this book was pretty good. Like I said, this book is a very quiet book and it has quiet writing to go along with that. This is a book that you definitely think a little bit about after you've turned the last page. I wish the ending had been a little less ambiguous. The end came quickly and was over just as fast and I wasn't really sure what to make of it.

Overall, I liked the story for the characters and the scenery!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting. I love character driven historical fiction. I'll think about this one. Thanks for the review!


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