Review by Children's Literature Comprehenshive Database
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Review by Booklist Review
A somber and breathtaking Hardyesque vision of a little-known American past, Lent's newest epic unfolds with the assured timelessness of a classic. The setting is New York's Finger Lakes region, a land of agrarian bounty where peculiar religious movements once took root. Mystery surrounds the murders of Amos Wheeler and his lover, Bethany Hopeton, by her husband, Malcolm, after he returns from the Civil War. It's not easy for anyone, Malcolm especially, to cope with his dreadful act. Also affected are Harlan, the Hopetons' hired boy, and August, a caring man who shelters Harlan and his sister. Several interlocking secrets (Why does Harlan remain loyal to Malcolm? What was Bethany's true nature?) are skillfully untangled both by looking backward and moving ahead. There's an overabundance of detail on farming, but many sentences demand rereading for their sheer beauty, and each love story some tragic, others newly born has a poignant emotional charge. Lent offers eloquent insight into what makes his characters tick, yet enough unknowns remain to keep the novel unpredictable through the final pages.--Johnson, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A double murder stirs old loyalties and resentments in Lent's (In the Fall) atmospheric novel. Malcolm Hopeton, a soldier newly returned from the Civil War, finds himself betrayed by both his wife, Bethany, and Amos Wheeler, the hired man entrusted with his farm. Hopeton's explosive rage leads him to kill them both, provoking a variety of responses within his western New York community: some incensed, others sympathetic. Harlan Davis, Hopeton's teenage farmhand and the sole witness to the crime, desperately gathers information for the defense. A portrait of a community disoriented by war and grappling for meaning in Christian spiritualism, the novel conveys Malcolm's struggles as a detailed miniature of the postwar American consciousness-his disaffection and self-examination, combined with a sense of betrayal from those he trusted most. Lent's vivid description of the rural landscape calls to mind a Wyeth painting, and a surprising sensuality enlivens the characters' interactions with the world and one another. The novel is slow going at times, and the characters' seeming lack of memories of the war is puzzling; even Hopeton, clearly scarred by his experience, refers to it only in passing. Yet piece by subtle piece, the story deftly casts its spell. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Starred Review. After four years of bloodshed, Civil War veteran Malcolm Hopeton returns home to upstate New York where he discovers that his farm has been abandoned and looted. His wife has run off with the hired man, but when they return to confront him, in minutes they're dead. From then on, the story is about Malcolm's impending trial. However, the latest from Lent (After You've Gone) is not a tale of lawyerly wizardry. Rather, it's a thoughtful, even pensive exploration of why the killings happened. The narrative is told slowly, laid out against the textures of a world that no longer exists: fields, crops, farm animals, hard work in an unchanging cycle as the year moves along its path. Many of Malcolm's neighbors are followers of a charismatic preacher, now deceased: the fervent religiosity of the Second Great Awakening of the mid-19th century undergirds much of the discussion of Malcolm's crime VERDICT It is a virtue of this lovely book that its pace is unhurried. Lent pays special attention to the matters most important to that particular time and place. For lovers of historical fiction or simply those who appreciate strong writing. [See Prepub Alert, 10/20/14.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.