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Penumbra

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  478 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Jade Dupree is a beautician and an undertaker's assistant with a gift for smoothing the ravages of death from the faces of her clientele. But her strange talent isn't the only thing that sets her apart from the townspeople of tiny Drexel, Mississippi.

Jade is half-black and the unacknowledged bastard daughter of Drexel's "first lady," the imperious Lucille Longier. Jade's
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ebook, 372 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Tyrus Books (first published April 4th 2006)
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☺~Tina~☺
I went back and forth on this one between a 3 and 4 but since the overall book was good, I'll stick with a 4. What made me want to take away a star was the ending. I'm not sure if the author plans to do a sequel or not, but I think everything could have been finished in this book. If another book is printed, then a ton of questions will be answered, if not then this was a poor ending to a good book.

I picked this up as a free read on Amazon. Not what I normally read but since I'm from MS, it piq
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Tara Chevrestt
This was a mixture of mystery, horror, and historical fiction. Def. unique. It's ugly, dark, and suspenseful. My heart actually pounded double throughout the last quarter.


It's about how selfishness and greed destroy a person...how karma can get you...how sometimes love causes pain.

Jade is half white, half black. Her adopted father is the chauffeur/handyman for a wealthy white woman--her real mother. He's been in love with the witch for all his life...and his wife knows it, so Jade has been taugh
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Colleen
I would give this 3.5 stars for the ending, but I enjoyed the book overall, so I bumped it to a 4. Haines did a wonderful job depicting the south and racial influences of the past. Though highly disturbing at times because our world has become so modern when it comes to bi-racial relationships, the detail in writing is what took me back to a place in time where these kind of incidences occurred. I feel let down by the ending; the story was stopped very short; almost as if the writer was on a dea ...more
Emily
This had the potential to be a good book, I just feel like she left it very open ended at the close. It was an easy read, but a bit scattered at times. Eluded to supernatural influences which was a concept I wish would have been used to play a bigger role. Enjoyed the story line & relationships throughout the story but was frustrated by the end.
Ginger
Dec 08, 2014 Ginger rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery/Suspense Fans
I've had this book on my Kindle for awhile and decided to read it for a challenge. Boy, am I glad I did! Great mystery set in Mississippi. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and quite the page turner. The last 50-60 pages had my heart pounding and palms sweating. Would love to see this made into a movie! Loved it!
Richard Philbrick
I've never read anything by this author before and had no idea what I was getting into when I downloaded the free version to my Kindle. Excellent read. A real page-turner through the last part of the book. Ms. Haines knows how to keep you up well past your bedtime to find out how things work out in this one.
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Nobody writes Southern better than Carolyn Haines. She can write light, as in her bestselling Bones series, or she can write dark, as in this gripping standalone that explores the grimy undertones of a small southern town. Like IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, only better.
Ann
The author writes well and the book is easy to read. However, its almost as if the author is trying too hard to be edgy by including violence, language, and scenes that seem odd and sometimes just down right silly.
Christy
Post World War II, Jade Dupree owns her own beauty shop and is also the undertaker’s assistant in the small Southern town of Drexel, Mississippi. Jade is half-black, her white mother Lucille Longier having handed her over to her black handyman and his wife to raise. Jade’s white half-sister Marlena is married to Lucas Bramlett, the wealthiest man in Drexel. Although Jade’s skills as a hairdresser are sought after by the rich, white women of Drexel, she understands she will never be considered an ...more
Christine
This was a free book on Kindle. that's why I downloaded it and read it. the story line was good and kept me engaged. I was angry for Jade and the way things were before the civil rights movement. I wanted Marlena to survive. I wanted Suzanna to be alive.

The character development was awkward and I had a hard time following along. while some of that is me, i believe it was poor writing and organization. The author tried to put so much information and back story that it got confusing.

There were a
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Gina
Excellent read ! This book kept me up at night. Set in Drexel Mississippi in the mid 50's. Loved Jade and Marlena's characters. Jade is of mixed race and the unacknowledged bastard daughter of an elitist. Jade's half sister, Marlena, is married to the wealthiest man in the region. While the entire town knows of the blood bond between them, no one talk's about it.

Jade's talents as a hairdresser are highly sought after by Drexel's elite, Jade accepts that she'll never truly be part of the small so
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Laura
I still can't decide whether I loved or hated this book! The storytelling was excellent and I enjoyed the characters, but the events were pretty horrific and the conclusion was very unsatisfactory. I did respect the "reality" of the conclusion. In real life there are often bad endings. But it left me wishing for something different.
Patty
Awhile ago, I read another book by Carolyn Haines, part of her Bones series. I never connected with the characters and the story and figured I would not pick up another book by this author. However, fortunately for me, this novel was available for free for my Kindle.

I am happy that I chose to download this - it is so very different than the Bones mystery series. This is a darker, more intense novel that captured me immediately. Unlike the other book, I was grabbed by the characters and did not w
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Carmen Slaughter
I was enthralled while reading this book and felt certain it would earn five stars. Then I read the last two chapters. I'm not sure if the author was trying to live up to the title of the book or if there was plans for a sequel. Either way, the ending was less than satisfactory. Some of the minor characters seemed to gain better closure than the main characters. I stuck with the four star rating because Haines did an excellent job blending the elements of mystery and paranormal fiction. Ms. Hain ...more
Dana
Still thinking about all the twists and turns in this book. Note ***SPOILER*** I still can't figure out if Lucas knew his wife, Marlena was cheating before........... I don't think he did but Marlena's mother did and if you read the book you know what she did. Here is my question if you can answer it. Does anyone think that Lucas found out what his mother-in-law did? Why did Junior visit his house? Dotty saw him there and but 2 + 2 together somewhat. I did not like Dotty at first but I wish ther ...more
Nikki
This book was just okay. I enjoyed the fact that it was set in MS and so I recognized most of the town and county names, and the characters were sort of interesting. However, the ending seemed very rushed and honestly I didn't really get a sense of closure for the story.
Jim
This book feels very much like a movie. That is not really a compliment, but not quite a put down either. It is very much a thriller, perhaps a half step above a b movie. The author did try to give me a feel for many of her characters, but I did not really feel like I really knew that much about them despite the ghost stories and flashes of insight. But she did weave the stories together well and really held the tension of multiple threads into the big storm quite well. So overall, it is a good ...more
Sharron Shimbel
Enjoyed is not the right word for my feelings about this book as the theme is disturbingly real and troublesome. Though set in the period after World War 11 and in an atmosphere of racial turmoil, there were many instances where I was reminded of situations that in my experience still exist. The story, told from the point of view of Jade, the local hairdresser is beautifully written and the characters are full complexities. The mystery is not complex but the dynamics of the characters is well ex ...more
Stephanie
Haines explores the themes of racism, greed, depravity and family bonds all in a small Southern town. Though the writing is top notch in Penumbra there is no "happy ever after" to be found within its pages. Instead you'll find a book rich with descriptive, poetic language and infused with memorable characters like Jade and Melona, half-sisters divided by race lines and an entire town's willingness to keep a secret unspoken.

I found this novel both powerful and disturbing and though the ending wa
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Catherine
Good southern story with racial tension and a bit of magical realism. didn't like the ending much. Well written
Michelle
I don't particularly like thrillers, I don't even like mysteries because they are all normally written the same. This, however knocked my socks off. Where has Carolyn Haines been all my life? I am just blown away by her writing. She took something so usually boring and cliché and turned into a spine tingling, OMG what is going to happen next kind of story. There are so many stories inter-tangled with each other and that worked out beautifully. I am defiantly looking forward to more of her writin ...more
Jill
This book was incredibly frustrating. It was poorly written. THe author just described the lives of the characters in short choppy sentences. The dialogue was TERRIBLE. It was like a 10th grader had to write a book for an english class and came up with this crap. I was often alarmed when a character spoke because it was completely unnatural.

I won't be reading anything by Carolyn Hines again.

Check out my full scathing review at http://abookofadifferentcolor.blogspo...
Brandi
I read this book several years ago as an Advanced Reader's Copy. I loved it from the very beginning to the end. I had never read anythign by this author before and I hear that this book was actually a step away from her usual fare; I only wish that people had caught on to this one. I wanted there to be a sequel so bad that I kept looking for a follow-up for years. i hope that Haines does produce another book like this one.
Rachel
This book is well written- though a little depressing for my taste- the books revolves around a lot of characters that are just plain evil- there are a few characters that the reader can relate to and cheer for- but there is so little hope within these pages- if I were just rating the quality of writing and plot- I would give it four stars- but with the depressing story line, for me, a three is the best I can do.
Sue Ross
What an intense mystery. Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries. Penumbra was a totally different type of mystery. You get to see the "dark side" of Carolyn in this one and even some reminders of the way things used to be. Loved the characters, well most of them. There were a few who got what they had coming. If you love or even like Carolyn's books, you will enjoy this one as well.
Teresa
I read this one in a day. It is a gripping mystery set in the deep south after WWII. It is often disturbing and definitely more than a little scary. Her depiction of the racism and predjudice of that time makes the book even more frightening. I gave it four stars because to me, the ending seemed a little rushed and left many unanswered questions. Is a sequel coming? It feels like there could be one to follow.
Robyn
This was an excellent mystery novel. The characters were all deep and beleivable. The story line was exciting, and well planned. There was not one scene or line that screamed 'mystery cliche' or was lame. This is not even true from my favorie mystery novelists, James Patterson and Kathy Reichs. I am looking forward to reading more from this author, and would definately recommend this book to others.
Joan
There was a lot that I like about this book - characters, plot, descriptions of time & place but ultimately the ending felt rushed and not thought out so I was disappointed overall with the book. It's not that I expected a happy ending or everything all neatly tied up with a bow but the book fell apart in the last few chapters. It could have been great. I think the author lost her way.
Diane
I initially rated this book with 4 stars, but after thinking about it I have downrated it to 3 stars. It was a good story that was complex and a real page turner, until a very unsatisfying ending. Many of the issues were left unresolved or unexplained. I can't imagine what the author was thinking. A sequel? Perhaps, but too much left unexplained in THIS book. Too bad.
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Did Lucas know what his mother-in-law did?? 1 2 Nov 10, 2013 08:48PM  
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A native of Mississippi, Carolyn Haines is the author of over fifty books in multiple genres. She was recently named the 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award and is the recipient of the 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence.

Haines teaches fiction writing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. Active in animal rescue, she has twenty-one "critters" —horses, dogs and cats.
More about Carolyn Haines...
Them Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #1) Buried Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #2) Crossed Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #4) Splintered Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney, #3) Bones To Pick (Sarah Booth Delaney, #6)

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