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The Grave of God's Daughter: A Novel by…

The Grave of God's Daughter: A Novel (2005)

by Brett Ellen Block

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The Grave of God's Daughter begins with a woman returning to her hometown for her mother's funeral and remembering her girlhood in Hyde Bend, a factory town nestled in the Allegheny mountains. Most of the town's residents are Polish immigrants who use their language to blockade the town from outsiders. The families in the town, most of the all the narrator's, live hardscrabble lives, eking out a living working either in the town's steel mill or its chemical plant, and faithfully attending Mass at Saint Ladislaus church. It's the type of small town where everybody seems to know everyone else's business, but secrets still run deep.

Times are especially hard for the young narrator's family, so hard that her mother has fallen to pawning their meager belongings while her father drinks his paycheck at the town's one tavern. Determined to buy back one of her mother's most prized possession, the girl secretly gets a job delivering packages for the local butcher. Through the job and the momentous events of that year, the girl is startled to discover a deep well of secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town, not the least of which involves her own family.

I was actually, for some reason, staggered by how much I enjoyed this book. Whenever I was forced to put it down, I found myself saying to myself in surprised awe, "I really like this book." The Grave of God's Daughter is a different kind of page-turner. Usually when I find myself referring to a book as a page-turner it's because it's a very plot-heavy, action packed, thrill-a-minute sort of read, but I'd hesitate to describe The Grave of God's Daughter as such. Rather, it is so well-crafted and well-paced with such a supremely engaging narrator that it's hard to put down. In fact, I was so caught up in the narrator's tale, in her breathing life into her hometown and the mystery of it as it intertwined with her own life, that it took me nearly two thirds of the book to realize that said narrator is never actually given a name.

Block expertly brings to life the hardscrabble life of her unnamed narrator. She shares a bed with her brother in a house with three rooms, is frightened of the old lady down the street, discovers a dogfighting operation while posing as a boy to make the butcher's deliveries, has the profoundly guilty conscience of a Catholic schoolgirl, and sincerely believes that when she started lying, she set into motion this momentous time of her life when all the lies of a family and a town are beginning to be revealed to her. The Grave of God's Daughter is a profound coming of age tale set in a unique place with absolutely vivid characters that I would recommend to anybody who doesn't mind a bit of darker story and discovering a diamond in the rough. ( )
  yourotherleft | Sep 7, 2013 |
LOVED IT!!! I had a hard time putting this book down. I was so interested in protagonist, and Martin, her younger brother. They had such a hardscrabble life and yet, together, they tried to make the best of it. The coming-of-age part of the narrative is as interesting as the mystery that is interspersed throughout the novel. The writing is so good that this little Polish neighborhood comes to life, you can see the characters, feel the hardships, and move across the terrain. I was saddened by the fact that Martin and his sister drifted apart over the years as the were so dependent on each other growing up. A wonderful read for bookclubs!! I look forward to this Brett Ellen Block penning another fabulous novel. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Mar 22, 2011 |
I loved this book, enough to stay up all night to read it in one sitting. At the beginning, I wasn't sure where the story line was taking me, but as the plot unraveled, I sped through the reading to see what the secrets were that were so well-kept in the storyline. I never once figured it out, which is amazing for me. I usually get bored and know where the author is taking me in any book; in this one, I had no clue. I won't go into detail because that would give the whole plot away, but suffice to say, if you enjoy secrets, family problems, religious aspects and illicit affairs, you will like this book as much as I did. A woman comes home to a funeral for her mom, sees her estranged brother and the story begins, through intertwining mysteries and her family in the middle of the whole thing. A must read for anyone who enjoys an unforgettable haunting story of lost innocence, transgressions, faith and forgiveness set against the stark canvas of a struggling mill town. ( )
  bakersfieldbarbara | May 26, 2010 |
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For my mother and father, always
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I was once told that the distance between a lie and the truth is like the distance between thunder and rain-the latter is never far behind.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006052507X, Paperback)

A woman is faced with the past she's tried to put behind her only to find that what transpired in her childhood has never been further away than her own shadow.

The year is 1941. Rooted in the lonely outreaches of the Allegheny Mountains lies the town of Hyde Bend. Its heart: a steel mill; its bones: the tight community of Polish immigrants who inhabit it; and its blood: their fierce Catholic faith. But buried in the town's soul is a dangerous secret surrounding the death of a revered priest.

Upon returning to Hyde Bend, a young woman accidentally uncovers the truth behind this crime, which leads to a second murder. The town quickly erupts in fear and finger pointing. The girl is forced to unravel the now-intertwined mysteries and discovers her own family at the center. Now she must confront all she holds sacred if she is to save her family and herself in this story of lost innocence, transgression, faith, and forgiveness.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:43 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When the discovery of a secret about a priest's death results in the demise of a local woman, the immigrant community of Hyde Bend erupts in fear and suspicion, a situation that forces a young girl to confront her family and beliefs.

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