Book Review: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery
Last week during a chat with my critique group, one of the writers mentioned how much she loves a marriage of convenience story. I had forgotten about reading this one after my latest book club read. Nothing quite stirs the soul like a sweet romance mixed with a little mystery. We all have something to hide in this life. When we allow God to direct our paths, He can redeem the most unredeemable situations.
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Cons: If you're looking for a suspense novel with dead bodies, gritty crime, and perilous situations, you won't find it here. I know, I know, that doesn't count as a con, but I usually reserve this section to warn my readers about what they might find that's objectionable in a book, and this one doesn't have much to call out. One other piece is that one of the two main characters, Sarah, has recently lost her husband. She's a little quick to allow another man to catch her eye in my opinion. Although she and her husband had some difficulties (I'm trying not to spoil anything here), I still wanted her to feel a little more about him. But every person's grief journey is different. Who am I to judge a fictional character's process?
Pros: I've grown to love dual-timeline novels. Amanda Cox beautifully weaves together Glory Ann's life starting in the 1960s and Sarah's in the present day. God binds them together using the old depot grocery. The novel includes the marriage of convenience trope. The dual-timeline gives this trope a fresh twist. I enjoyed watching the relationships in the past take shape and affect the present.
Sarah returns home following a traumatic experience. She determines to put her life back together in the small town where her parents raised her. And the Old Depot Grocery, run by her mother (Rosemary) and grandmother (Glory Ann), is just the place to take her mind off her troubles.
When her mother insists Sara find other pursuits, the grieving young woman doesn't understand. Sure the old grocery is struggling with the opening of a new supermarket. But Sarah's determined to save the store as if it might erase the secrets she's harboring about the life she's built for herself.
Sarah's not the only one with secrets. As a young woman in the 1960s, Glory Ann finds herself pregnant and unwed. Her beloved has been killed at war. Her parents hurriedly wed her to a man she's never met, the owner of The Old Depot Grocery.
In one timeline, Glory Ann builds a new life on the ashes of her old one, but she never reveals the truth about her marriage. After all, what would it help? However, secrets don't keep forever, and they often burst open when we least expect it.