Sunshine Rays in the Coulee featuring author Wiley Cash!
The sun is shining down on Wiley Cash in the coulee as I have read all three of his books that he has written and they are all being featured together in this one post. All were different stories that left me in different coulees along with some of my Traveling Sisters. All so beautifully written with strong well-developed characters so masterfully portrayed.
I started off reading the latest by Wiley Cash, The Last Ballad with some of my Traveling Sisters (TS) and this one turned out to be the favorite of the three for me. Then I read This Dark Road with a smaller group of my TS and didn’t hold as much as a punch as the others did for me. The last one read was A Land More Kind. I picked this one up to look at it and I didn’t put it down till I finished it. I didn’t give it a chance to be put up as a Sister Read. Sorry Sisters. If you haven’t read this one, put it on the top of your list.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
4.5 stars rounded up
The Last Ballad is a powerful, haunting, and moving story, that had me lost in the insightful, heartbreaking lush coulee with some of our Travelling Sisters. The story explores the courage of one woman’s inspiring fight for justice that was inspired by actual events.
Wiley Cash shows us the heartbreak and bravery of one woman along with other women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. With intertwining voices and different perspectives, Cash takes us into the lives of some brave, interesting, gritty, likable and unlikable characters that are connected to our main character Ella May Wiggins. Well-done characters with many shades of humanity and each bringing their own conflict to the story that allowed us to feel their hopes, fears, bravery or cowardliness.
When we first meet our main character Ella May Wiggins she is struggling to care for her family and we all loved her strength and through her bravery, she found her voice and stood up for what she believes in. She had something important to say and we wanted to hear it
“You’ve earned your story. I’ve earned mine. I’ve earned this being sad, this loss, this being angry. I want to tell it to people so they’ll know what it means to earn it. … They need to know they’re not alone.”
The Last Ballad is beautifully written however for us it was a heavy read. We needed to slow down and give it attention and the focus it deserved. Even though we can’t say we really enjoyed this one we really appreciated it. I highly recommend!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.5 stars rounded up
This Dark Road To Mercy took us through a few coulees with our emotions as we followed along with our three narrators. We went from the love and atonement lush coulee to the redemption and justice coulee and then to the blood and vengeance dry coulee with our narrators in this story. Our favorite road was with wise, heart-broken 12-year Easter who’s wayward father Wade drags her and her sister on the run bringing danger to the sisters. The chase is on as Wade tries to outrun his past and his bad luck. He brings danger and love to the chase that left us feeling we wanted to trust him but didn’t know if we could. We fell in love with Esther and wanted the best for her and her sister and that left us questioning what was. At times we felt like the story lacked some intensity, grit, and edge for us. Instead left us asking questions we didn’t know the answers to.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
4.5 stars rounded up
A Land More Kind Than Home is a daring, haunting, and heartfelt story of courage and the bond between two brothers that left me lost and mesmerized in the all my heart and soul lush coulee. I settled in my grassy spot to read and soon I was checking the grass for the evil that I could feel slithering in, leaving me a little uncomfortable in my Coulee. The love and bond between Jess Hall and his brother soon had me moving into a safer grassy spot with my guard up for the evil hiding behind the face of what should be good and safe.
Wiley Cash creates the strongest narrators here for me with these complicated and troubled characters, allowing me to become completely engrossed in their stories. I loved the intensity, grit, and suspense to this one and Cash does a great job of showing me what his character’s words wanted me to see. It left me with no questions as to who to trust with this one, just the intense suspense to see how it all comes together in the end. I highly recommend!
Reviews by Brenda