Joanna Scott, Little, Brown, 2009, $24.99/C$27.99, hb, 400pp, 9780316051651
When you layer a family saga with secrets and betrayal with a story containing a host of entangled relationships written by an author who expertly engages your attention till the end, why wouldn’t you want to read Follow Me?
The story begins in 1946 when Sally Werner, a naïve and recalcitrant farmer’s daughter from Pennsylvania heads out with her cousin Daniel one afternoon. She realizes too late that her motorcycle ride with Daniel and subsequent actions have left her pregnant. Unwilling to face the daily barrage of religious ramblings or the feelings of guilt caused by her parents’ pious gaze, she abandons her son and runs away. When looking for someplace to settle, Sally falls in love with a boy named Mole. After Mole is killed in a car accident, Sally learns she is pregnant. Her daughter, Penny Mole, grows up to become a successful lawyer and lives with her own daughter Sally, whose father left without provocation before her birth.
Sally’s granddaughter and namesake is keeper of the secrets and chronicler of her muddled multi-generational heritage of deceit and deception. Scott crafts a cadence of consequences as the pieces are joined, but always some part is missing, making the truth difficult to visualize.
Scott’s writing is pure magic. The plot she creates is like a tailor whose sharp needle weaves an intricate pattern of lines and keeps you guessing until the entire picture is uncovered. Follow Me is a celebration of life you will not want to end.
Published in Historical Novels Review May 2009 Issue