Bret James Stewart's Reviews > The Rosewood Casket

The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb
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it was amazing

The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb is a wonderful amalgamation of mystery, Southern Literature, and ghost story bordering on Southern Gothic. My mother recommended this book to me, and I did not think I would like it much as I am not overly fond of mysteries, but I was wrong.

The overall story is about a dying man, Randall Stargill, and the gathering of his four sons, who are tasked with working in cooperation to construct the eponymous casket for their father. A mysterious woman arrives with a box containing the skeleton of a child, requesting it be placed in the coffin when the latter is completed. I won't include any spoilers in this review, but I wanted to include the basic teaser plot.

The novel is written in a series of flashbacks and present sequences. This is well done and interesting. She provides a number of perspectives, too, which is nice as it allows the reader to really get into the head of the characters. The "present" sequences are in the 90s, so it is now the past, with the result that the book actually provides intriguing insights into two different time periods. More than that, really, because the sequences of Stargill's past involve a number of different times, notably the World War II era.

A number of themes are present in the book. The universal struggle with changing times (particularly marked in the rapidly-changing 20th century), the move from the agrarian society/culture of the time and the corresponding issues such as the abandonment of the family farms as children leave to take urban jobs. Also present are struggles between siblings, the rich and the poor, the traditional and the modern, and industrialization and environmentalism. Moreover, morality questions, ethics, and the poignancy of love and death abound. These issues are timeless, and this novel is, too.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in any of the genres and/or characteristics mentioned above. McCrumb has worked magic in this work, and you don't want to miss it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 9, 2016 – Shelved

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