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Steeplechase by Jane Langton
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Steeplechase (2005)

by Jane Langton

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A combination of an historical story (perhaps a mystery of sorts) and the modern story of Homer and Mary searching for the historical story. The jumping back and forth was fine but the overall story lacked something. It never really engaged me, I got a sense of who the different characters were but their stories didn't feel very real and then it just petered out and ended with no sense of conclusion. Not badly written but just dissapointing.
  amyem58 | Mar 10, 2017 |
Flits back and forth in time between now and a Civil War era mystery story ... hard to put it down!
  aquariumministry | Jun 14, 2016 |
Protagonist: Homer Kelly
Setting: present-day Massachusetts
Series: #18

First Line: "The wind was blowing gently west-southwest."

Nothing like diving into a series with the eighteenth book! Homer Kelly is an author whose book about New England churches shockingly skyrockets to #1 on the bestseller list. Everyone's after Homer to write a follow-up...oh! And make sure it has plenty of sex and violence in a new batch of churches, will ya? The sex and violence will make sure this one goes to #1, too. Homer starts his research, and finds plenty of people who've heard of his book, but none of them have actually read it.

The characters in this book didn't really do much for me. What *did* was the second storyline revolving around two churches, two men of the cloth, a couple of hot-air balloon riding photographers and a small New England town following the end of the Civil War--but the entire book tasted like one of those low-cal frozen dinners when they first appeared on the market. I've been persuaded not to meet up with Homer again. ( )
  cathyskye | Sep 1, 2007 |
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Epigraph
Thank God, men cannot as yet fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!

--Henry Thoreau, Journal,
January 3, 1861
Dedication
For Joe Gillson
First words
The wind was blowing gently west-southwest.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312301952, Hardcover)

 
"A lost church?" said Homer Kelly. "How could a church get itself lost? You mean it just pointed its steeple at the horizon and took off?"

His wife sucked her pencil. "I know it sounds strange."
 
Strange or not, Homer and Mary are soon engaged in a steeplechase, a pursuit of the mysterious lost church.
 
Luckily, the reader is in on the mystery. This sequel to The Deserter: Murder at Gettysburg is set in 1868 in the town of Nashoba, Massachusetts, where the daughter of the Reverend Josiah Gideon cares for her husband, James, brutally disfigured in the last battle of the Civil War. In the parsonage across the town green, the Reverend Horatio Biddle fumes at what he considers to be Josiah's brazen ways, while Mrs. Biddle spies on the outhouse in Josiah's backyard.
 
Central to the story is a gigantic tree, the Great Nashoba Chestnut. Crucially intermingled with its fate are a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, the story "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," and the nonsense rhymes of Mother Goose. Homer and Mary Kelly will once again delve deep into the past to unravel puzzles in the present.
 
This novel includes charming drawings by the author and a number of nineteenth-century photographs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:36 -0400)

In a mystery in which chapters alternate between past and present, the search for a mysterious lost church by Homer Kelly and his wife Mary is juxtaposed against events in 1868 Nashoba as a Civil War veteran struggles to put his life back together.

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