Home To Trinity
This book took me entirely too long to read. Or maybe it just seemed that way, because the main character we’re stuck with is simply no one with whom I had any wish to spend time. Combine that with the fact that out of the many plot threads, most are resolved rather abruptly, and almost all end in a way that is either predictable, improbable, or inexplicable – or some combination of the three – and the end result is not encouraging at all.
Martha Cade is a midwife in Trinity, Pennsylvania. She’s lost her husband and her home, and her seventeen-year-old daughter Victoria has run off to New York. As the story opens, she’s going to answer the “call to duty,” to deliver a child that ends up being stillborn to a woman whose husband is obviously abusive. Not that Martha figures that out, although any reader with half a brain will.
After this taxing experience, she returns home to find her daughter waiting for her, along with a woman named June Morgan. June and her husband have been taking care of Victoria since she ran away, and though June is extremely pregnant, she has accompanied Victoria home because she is worried about her safety. Nonetheless, Martha immediately assumes that the Morgans view Victoria as nothing more than a servant (despite the fact that they’ve published Victoria’s poetry in their magazine, and given her a home without demanding anything in return). Then she decides that the Morgans can’t be godly because they allowed Victoria to stay with them, away from her mother. She goes on to make any number of other insulting assumptions, and she accuses June – who she’s just met – to her face. Both obtuse and insulting. Yep, Martha’s a charmer.
But it gets better. Not only is Martha determined to control her basically adult daughter’s life and steamroll over Victoria’s wishes, but she’s convinced she has the answer to everyone else’s problems in Trinity as well. She’s rigid, domineering, self-righteous, sanctimonious and rude. And apparently, everyone loves her for it.
But Martha’s not this book’s only problem. There are any number of plot threads – some interesting, some just confusing, and some appearing out of nowhere late in the book, only to disappear just as suddenly, unresolved. (I haven’t read the previous book, A Place Called Trinity, which may or may not explain more) These threads are tied together only by Martha’s desire to run everyone’s life for them, and her insistense that she knows best. The interesting ones, such as the one concerning Ivy and Fern, the women who board Martha at their “confectionery” (a bakery that only makes sweets), are what keep the grade from being an F. Unfortunately, this particular thread ends offstage, without warning or closure, like many of the others.
In addition to the haphazard plot, there’s the issue of language. No one simply speaks in Trinity; they are too busy quipping (often in a way that makes clear that the author does not understand the word) or gushing. And when they can’t do that, they huff, to the extent that I kept expecting the Big Bad Wolf of pig-evicting fame to make an appearance. He would have felt right at home.
Too, there’s the style and atmosphere of the narration. Aside from being overblown and sometimes silly, there is a cloying sweetness that pervades much of the book. The preceding novel (A Place Called Trinity) was an inspirational; this is, apparently, the story of the woman inspired. I can’t help but wonder if I might have liked her more before she spent three quarters of her time gushing about blessings and angels (which she sees everywhere). This could have been done with subtlety and good taste, but it wasn’t. It was heavy-handed, and felt smothering instead of uplifting. Added to her other characteristics, Martha’s over-the-top spirituality had me racing through the book just to get away from her.
While there were some good plot points buried in the overripe descriptions, language, and aimless flow of events, they were overpowered by the book’s less appealing characteristics. Of those there were simply too many to let me recommend Home to Trinity. Take a pass on this one. There are too many better books you could be reading, and you’ll thank me for keeping you from wasting precious time on this one.