Title: The Coffins Of Little Hope
Author: Timothy Schaffert
272 pages, Publisher: Unbridled Books
Buy The Book: Amazon
Timothy Schaffert has created his most memorable character yet in Essie, an octogenarian obituary writer for her family’s small town newspaper. When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie stumbles onto the story of her life. Or, it all could be simply a hoax, or a delusion, the child and child-thief invented from the desperate imagination of a lonely, lovelorn woman. Either way, the story of the girl reaches far and wide, igniting controversy, attracting curiosity-seekers and cult worshippers from all over the country to this dying rural town. And then it is revealed that the long awaited final book of an infamous series of ya gothic novels is being secretly printed on the newspaper’s presses.
The Coffins of Little Hope tells a feisty, energetic story of characters caught in the intricately woven webs of myth, legend and deception even as Schaffert explores with his typical exquisite care and sharp eye the fragility of childhood, the strength of family, the powerful rumor mills of rural America, and the sometimes dramatic effects of pop culture on the way we shape our world. (Summary provided by Unbridled Books.)
I can only hope that in my eighties I will be as sharp and as formidable a woman as Essie Myles, the main character in Timothy Schaffert’s The Coffins Of Little Hope. Essie, an obituary writer, becomes obsessed with the possible disappearance of a small child, and as a result of events surrounding the disappearance, begins corresponding with a reclusive and very famous author. The short, “bite-sized” goodness of each chapter, or part as Schaffert labels them, perfectly mimics the mind of a woman who is at ease with summing up entire lives into a few succinct paragraphs. Schaffert creates an in depth mythology surrounding the sleepy farm town and the farm, the Crippled Eighty, which the young girl, Lenore, disappeared from . The Midwest setting Shaffert creates at times evokes Donald Harington’s impassioned descriptions of Ozark mountain towns. At his best Schaffert’s ethereal setting ,with ghosts of the past around every corner, channels Thornton Wilder. Readers that enjoy a book with a setting as detailed as the characters that inhabit it will love The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert.
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