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by Letha Albright
Avocet Press, October 2007
272 pages
ISBN: 0972507876

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Virginia Crow's life was pretty good when she was young. Her parents owned a nice farm in the South, she was educated and soon became a teacher. But shortly after Virginia met a Native American, the man who would soon become her husband, things swiftly went downhill.

The couple never had much money and soon Virginia gave birth to a little girl. Life was hard. Then Virginia's husband asked her to take a drive with him. He went into a store and Virginia was surprised when he ran out. She was also stunned when she discovered that he had robbed the store. The authorities soon found the two, her husband was hanged and Virginia was sent to prison for 18 months.

Virginia's daughter was left in the hands of her landlady who promised that the child would be safe with her until Virginia was released.

Eighteen months later Virginia returns to the house only to find that her landlady has sold her daughter and left town.

Virginia is determined to find her little girl, but in order to do that she needs money to pay for a private investigator. The only thing Virginia can do is to go back to her deceased parents' farm and see if she can convince her sister, Caroline, to sell the farm and split the money from the sale with her.

But all she finds when she returns to the home of her youth is Caroline's 15-year-old daughter and information that Caroline has died. Nothing is left in the home because Caroline and her daughter had to sell the animals and some household items to support themselves. Now there is nothing left but an old farm that is falling apart. It's so dilapidated that it cannot be sold and to make things worse, they can't even farm it, as the summer heat has turned everything to sand.

Virginia still needs money to find her daughter, so Virginia, her niece, the niece's boyfriend, and an old close friend of her father all decide to become robbers to get the money they each need. The group eventually gets in way over their heads and things go very wrong, but still they go on, each with a dream that only money can buy.

Filled with heat, sand storms, and desperation, author Letha Albright takes the readers into the lives of the people who reside in her new novel BED OF STONE.

Each character struggles through their lives during the Great Depression trying to get by day after day. The area is very poor and Albright does not criticize any of her characters. Even if they are bank robbers, kidnappers, and murderers, each character has a good reason for doing what they did, and it's very hard to condemn them.

The story slowly unfolds to tell about each character and the problems they have. There are times when parts of the book gets violent, but it is not gratuitous and the violence is very much needed to push the story along.

A solid and well-written book, BED OF STONE'S main problem is that it ends abruptly. The author takes her time describing everyone and everything, but things suddenly speed up, ending the story too quickly. It's almost as if the author was growing tired of the characters and their problems.

But, the ending aside, BED OF STONE is a wonderful book to be read slowly and enjoyed.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, November 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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