The first narrator is Ally, a 60-year-old woman who has returned home to Molasses Creek following the death of her father. She is helped by her old friend, Vesey Washington, a man of a similar age to her, who was never more than a friend because of his race. Vesey also narrates some passages later in the book. Between them, they tell a story of a friendship going back fifty years.
The other narrator is Sunila, a 37 or 38-year-old woman living in Kathmandu, Nepal. She is an untouchable working as a stone-cutter, and is now going on a journey with a mysterious book to find Mr Monroe, an American diplomat who helped her many years ago. I initially thought Sunila was a man, based on the occupation. The ambiguity surrounding Sunila was probably intended to be mysterious: I found it confusing.
As the story progresses, Ally tells us her history through a series of flashbacks, and we begin to guess how the two plot lines are related. Although the first part of the book was a struggle, it improved steadily and the last third was outstanding – happy, sad, sentimental but without being maudlin.
From a Christian point of view, Vesey had a strong faith but Ally was much more wishy-washy, and even by the end of the book, I didn’t really know where she stood. I think this could have been developed further. Despite these comments, overall, Beyond Molasses Creek was a strong book that proved that I can enjoy a well-written character-driven saga.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze® for providing a free ebook for review.