Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gingham Mountain - Mary Coneally

By now you know "Gingham Mountain" is the third and final book of the "Lassoed in Texas" trilogy by Mary Coneally.  Let's get to it...
After the impressive plot in the first book of this trilogy, the second and third book fell flat by comparison.  I give credit to Mary Coneally for using plots which were different enough that even when reading the books  back-to-back, I never felt a sense of déjà vu.  The plot in this one was relatively interesting, but more low key than the first book.  The villain in this book never struck me as very dangerous, and there didn't seem to be very much risk among the characters. 
I regret that the author set this book in a different town.  "Gingham Mountain" was set in Sour Springs, TX when the first two books were set in Mosqueros, TX.  I presume this is because the author felt oil could not be found in West Texas, but could be found in East Texas, which is necessary for the plot to succeed.  I'm not sure I share her opinion, though.  Knowing the backstory of the characters in previous books adds value to the books that come later in a series.  I don't believe the trade off was worth it.  I felt like I was losing all the progress I had gained by getting to know the other supporting characters based in Mosqueros, TX. 
Both towns are completely fictional, although there is a present day Sour Lake, TX.  If you visit the Sour Lake page on Wikipedia you will quickly learn that Sour Lake, TX was previously named Sour Lake Springs, TX.  It is the oldest town of the county of Hardin, and is located in east Texas (just as Sour Springs is in "Gingham Mountain") on the Texas-Louisiana state line.  It was a boom town of the very early 1900's due to the discovery of oil.  Sour Lake is also know as the birthplace of Texaco and is still today one of the oldest oil-producing fields in the world.
You might think that is justification for changing settings.  I agree, but none of this information was shared with the readers.  I will give the author props for working in the other characters quite a bit considering how far removed they were from the town of Sour Springs.  One of my favorite chapters was when Grace reunites with her sister, Hannah.  The portrayal of Grace, Daniel, and the Reeves boys was a perfect picture of what a stranger's impression might be the first time they met these characters.  It was made hilarious because, due to the second book, I was already familiar with this family and knew why they acted the way they did.  Overall, the book was well written and interesting, but it wasn't a page-turner like the first one.

1 comment:

  1. I've not yet read this series, but your reviews make me want to! Thanks for sharing them with all of us.