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The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard
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The Virgin of Small Plains (2007)

by Nancy Pickard

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Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
quick fun read,kinda formulaic and kinda predictable but kept my attention. ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 26, 2017 |
Review: The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard.

At first when I choose this book from one of my last resort piles I thought it was a Christian or Amish novel by the looks of the cover. To my surprise it was an interesting suspenseful mystery. It’s not a five star but it still was pretty good. The characters are fascinating and the great writing kept me interested to the end. The story was well organized and the outcome was somewhat predictable.

It started with Abby Reynolds, a sixteen-year-old girl sneaking her boyfriend, Mitch Newquist in her bedroom at night during a snowstorm in Small Plains, Kansas. Her father was the town doctor whose office was attached to their home. All was quiet until Mitch needed to get something from the doctors office and in the meantime the phone rang and Abby’s father went down to open his office door for Mr. Shellenberger and his son Rex. Mitch got scared and hid in a medical supply closet with bare feet and only his pants on. The horror he seen that night went secret for seventeen years….Mitch told his parents what he saw but that only got Mitch sent away to another college the next morning….rumors started about why he left right after the girl’s body was found…. And not long after the Newquist adopted a new born baby boy they called Jeff…It’s as if Mitch was being replaced…He never came back for his mother’s funeral…Then on Memorial Day, seventeen years later, he decide to visit his mother’s grave and see his brother…

It wasn’t a big town but there were some businesses still thriving in the area and some animal herding. As the snow storm was getting worse the Shellenberger family, the father and two sons, Rex and Patrick went out to bring what cows and calf’s they could round up to bring them into shelter. While they were out they came across a naked frozen young female in the snow and not knowing what to do they took the body to the office of Doctor Reynolds. It was such a small town that everyone was close friends and took care of each other. They all claimed they didn’t know who the dead girl was so the town took care of the unidentified corpse and placed her in a grave at the back of the town’s cemetery with a wooden cross. As time went on she was known as the Virgin of Small Plains because people believed visiting her grave, miracles could happen…

On Memorial Day Mitch returned to Small Plains and there were tornado warnings in the area…Everyone was heading to storm cellars or some kind of safe place. In the meantime Mitch decided to stay in town for awhile, which he didn’t plan, but he felt it was time to unbury the secrets of “The Virgin”….and give her a name….. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Sep 17, 2016 |
For the most part, THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS is an excellent mystery, the kind readers will be anxious to keep reading. It is a murder mystery, yes, but as the best mysteries are, this book is much more than that. It examines lies and relationships and the possibility of miracles. Plus, the substory of a separate character in need of a miracle is placed in this story to make it even more complex.

But it's a 4- out of 5-star book. THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS loses a point because its language is simple, sounding more like a young adult than an adult novel. This is especially true of the first and the last couple chapters. The book begins with teenage sex and their silly situation, neither of which do much for an adult reader. The last chapters tie everything up neatly, reminding me, again, of a YA novel.

Adults should enjoy this, though, if they don't mind simple prose, a convenient end, and a plot-driven more than character-driven novel. They will appreciate its complex mysteries. ( )
  techeditor | Jul 1, 2016 |
Disappointing. Schlocky writing. Trite, shallow characters. From the descriptions of the book I had thought it would be like Montana 1948 - I'm sorry I even thought to compare this to that fine work. Read Montana 1948 instead. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 3, 2016 |
A mystery that keeps you guessing (yeah, I know, that's cliche). I found it a quick read, though very light. My only complaint is at the end it was wrapped up kind of lazily by someone talking to a character's grave, explaining all the loose ends in a narrative, as though the dead person were curious to know all that. I would have preferred it to have been presented within the story, but I'm sure it was convenient/expedient for the author to do it that way. There is language and sex in it, but otherwise not too gruesome of details when talking about the crime. ( )
  SaraMSLIS | Jan 26, 2016 |
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Abby Reynolds braked her truck on the icy highway, startled by what she imagined she saw off to the side of the road.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345471008, Paperback)

Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father’s pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl, her skin as white as the snow around her. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. The mysterious dead girl–the “Virgin of Small Plains”–inspires local reverence. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses. Slowly, word of the legend spreads.

But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did young Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the Virgin’s body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town’s three most powerful men–Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge, Tom Newquist–all seem to be hiding the details of that night?

Seventeen years later, when Mitch suddenly returns to Small Plains, simmering tensions come to a head, ghosts that had long slumbered whisper anew, and the secrets that some wish would stay buried rise again from the grave of the Virgin. Abby–never having resolved her feelings for Mitch–is now determined to uncover exactly what happened so many years ago to tear their lives apart.

Three families and three friends, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences in award-winning author Nancy Pickard’s remarkable novel of suspense. Wonderfully written and utterly absorbing, The Virgin of Small Plains is about the loss of faith, trust, and innocence . . . and the possibility of redemption.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father's pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl, her skin as white as the snow around her. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. The mysterious dead girl - the "Virgin of Small Plains" - inspires local reverence: In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses. Slowly, word of the legend spreads." "But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did young Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the Virgin's body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town's three most powerful men - Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge Tom Newquist - all seem to be hiding the details of that night?" "Seventeen years later, when Mitch suddenly returns to Small Plains, simmering tensions come to a head, ghosts that had long slumbered whisper anew, and the secrets that some wish would stay buried rise again from the grave of the Virgin. Abby - never having resolved her feelings for Mitch - is now determined to uncover exactly what happened so many years ago to tear their lives apart."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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