In the tradition of Fannie Flagg and Lorna Landvik, The Saints and Sinners of Okay County is a heartfelt and compelling debut novel with an unforgettable heroine. It's the story of a woman whose ability to see the futures of others leads her right back into her own troubled past.
It's the summer of 1976, and it seems like the entire state of Oklahoma is celebrating America's bicentennial. But in the small town of Okay, Aletta Honor has much more on her mind than flags and fireworks. She's pregnant with her fourth child and hasn't seen her husband, Jimmy, in weeks. Although she can guess where the hound dog has parked his red-white-and-blue vanin front of the local gin mill or outside the home of yet another woman for a little Yankee Doodle Diddle. Discretion is not in the man's constitution.
Flat broke and desperate for some cash, Aletta decides to set up a food stand on the front lawn during the Okay Czech Festival. But when a woman touches her hand in sympathy, Aletta is completely unsettled. She never touches anyone outside her familyif she does, she gets overwhelming visions of their lives and futures. It started when she was a young girl and has scared her ever since. Now Aletta immediately sees the woman in a tragic accident, and gives her a warning that will save her life. When the woman returns the next day to thank her, Aletta figures out how to save her own life.
With all the courage she can musterfiguring the townsfolk will most likely think she's nutsshe puts a sign in the front yard:
ALETTA HONOR. PSYCHIC READER. DROP-INS WELCOME.
But doing readings for people opens a door she thought she had locked long ago, as memories of a terrible event come flooding back. She may not be able to see into her future, but she realizes she must face the demons in her past if she's going to make a new life for herself and her kids. First, though, she'll have to tell a few fortunes. . . .
Poignant, touching, and full of the kind of wisdom that can only come straight out of the heartland, Dayna Dunbar's The Saintsand Sinners of Okay County is a wonderful novel of a woman who confronts pain in order to reclaim her belief in herself, lay her past to rest, and bring order back to a life that has veered too far off track.
Library Journal - Rebecca S. Kelm
Purchase if there's demand for feel-good novels about ordinary women handling serious problems and relationships with little apparent trauma.
A very appealing debut from Dunbar, an Oklahoma native, whose tough-minded tenderness and authentic voice make the most of a slight plot.
Booklist - Meredith Parets
Dunbar's novel is both sensitively written and absorbing. Tough, self-effacing Aletta is an appealing heroine, and Dunbar's careful and understated writing keeps her novel from becoming a generic story of small-town female grit....This is an impressive first novel, with a warmhearted and tough heroine.
Dunbar's no-frills writing style, engaging pacing and cast of kooky saints and sinners make Aletta's unconventional story about taking control of her life a pleasant, all-too-rapid read.
Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.
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