I had not previously read a book by Robert Hellenga, although he has already published five novels, but I was intrigued by the title of his latest. After all, women's mythical history with snakes stretches back to Genesis and beyond, and I remember reading with great pleasure Marion Zimmer Bradley's Firebrand, in which a snakewoman plays a key role during the Trojan War. But who knew that right now in America we still have fundamentalist Christian sects handling snakes as a means of avoiding hell and reaching heaven? Sunny, formerly known as Willa Fern Cochrane, was born and raised in the Church of the Burning Bush with Signs Following in southeastern Illinois and married to its most powerful preacher until she got "backed up on God" and took justice into her own hands. As I read, I found myself wondering whether Hellenga named Sunny's ex-husband Earl after the infamous Dixie...
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