Tucker, I want to tell you a secret. Miss Ella curled my hand into a fist and showed it to me.
Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart.
An internationally famous photographer, Tucker Mason has traveled the world, capturing things other people donât see. But what Tucker himself canât see is how to let go of the past and forgive his father.
On a sprawling Southern estate, Tucker and his younger brother, Mutt, were raised by their housekeeper, Miss Ella Rain, who loved the motherless boys like her own. Hiring her to take care of Waverly Hall and the boys was the only good thing their father ever did.
When his brother escapes from a mental hospital and an old girlfriend appears with her son and a black eye, Tucker is forced to return home and face the agony of his own tragic past.
Though Miss Ella has been gone for many years, Tuck can still hear her voiceâand her prayers. But finding peace and starting anew will take a measure of grace that Tucker scarcely believes in.
In his second novel, Martin (The Dead Don't Dance) introduces Tucker Mason, the motherless son of a wealthy, abusive alcoholic in a small Alabama town. While Dad spends most of his time in an Atlanta high-rise, Tucker grows up in an enormous manse--complete with a "chandelier made from elk horns"--tutored by an African-American widow in common courtesy, love and the gospel. After a few years, an illegitimate son turns up at the Mason compound, Tucker's half-brother, Mutt. Although Tucker eventually overcomes his gothic childhood and becomes an acclaimed international photographer, he can't escape the home place. The story picks up with Tucker's adulthood, when he makes peace with several individuals from his past, including the schizophrenic Mutt and an ex-girlfriend who's on the run from a nasty husband. This group of Southern grotesques manages to make Christmas together and, readers sense, forge a kind of family. Martin spins an engaging story about healing and the triumph of love. The novel is filled with delightful local color--at Clark's Fish Camp, you can order shrimp or catfish, and you can have them fried or fried. While the evil characters are too caricaturish and one-dimensional, and the prose is clean but hardly luminous, this is a welcome cut above run-of-the-mill inspirational fiction.
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April 09, 2006
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