27 February 2012

Review: Beyond Molasses Creek by Nicole A Seitz

Beyond Molasses Creek is told in the first person, present tense, with changing narrators, and this meant I found it extremely difficult to get into the book. I don’t mind a third-person novel changing between two storylines, but I find two first-person narrators annoying, and I don’t usually like stories told in the present tense. In fact, I stopped reading it twice. But I persevered, and I’m glad I did.

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.


  1. I recommend this book to those who enjoy an author of intelligence and fine storytelling. And to those who enjoy a woman's story...one with a strong woman character or two who is capable of overcoming adversity and loss to find her way "home." Like I did, you may come to love the waters of Molasses Creek, and you may find a word of inspiration there.

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  2. Wonderfully written, beautifully intertwined characters, and a storyline that grasps the heart. Seitz is one of my favorites! Please write more!