Book Report: Songs of Three by Shirley Gilmore (2018)

Book coverThis is the second book in the Bucky and the Lukefahr Ladies series; I read the first, Walking the Labyrinth, immediately before it.

So this book only clocks in at 584 pages before appendices, which is shorter than Walking the Labyrinth, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice. It’s also a little more soap opera than the preceding book.

In it, the people of Turn Back are having dreams of a cave. Secrets emerge as Bucky learns that her father, erm, fathered a child after a drunken encounter while on a book tour, and that the mother sent pictures of the baby until communications stopped when the baby was about a year old. In an amazing coincidence, that is the boy next door–the boy whose parents died when he was only one year old and is being raised by his great-grandmother, and it turns out that since he is Simon, the father’s son, the boy is not actually the great-grandmother’s blood relation. Meanwhile, Bucky, the 10-year-old girl, has dreams about her mother returning and trying to kill her. This comes to a head when the mother actually does show up, eight months pregnant and seemingly unaged since her disappearance. We learn about the two types of others who come from elsewhere and can cross over at mystical springs like the one at the old resort where they live, and they think Simon is a great Hittite who did them a good turn several thousand years ago. After a blow to the head, Simon starts having visions that he is such and that he and his wife and even Bucky have been intertwined through many incarnations. Things with the local fundamentalist preacher who has been harrassing Bucky and Simon come to a head in a sudden climax that should take him out of the picture in future books. And they find a cave with Minoan writing along with some Latin from later Spanish visitors. Oh, and I forgot to mention Ian, the boy next door, gets hurt near the cave and part of the book is his recovery.

I am not sure what to make of the reincarnation themes intertwined with the church-going. I wonder where that will lead.

But the book is thick with details and incidents of everyday life in Turn Back, and the plot events are few and scattered over the book’s length. I mean, the writing is easy to read and the pages fly by, but about page 300 of this book, I realized I was 1000 pages into the ongoing saga and not half done. So I will take a break from this series and read something else (besides poetry) for a while.

I think reading these big series is easier when they come out at a book a year; however, a shelf full of them and thousands of pages daunts me. Not just this series, but I have Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series (complete, I think). I read the first two right after college, but they got thicker as time went on, and I collected the rest, and there they sit behind me, thousands of pages. I’ve probably mentioned this when binge watching episodic comedies recently (Red Dwarf and Sledge Hammer!). They, too, were easier to watch back in the day in weekly installments rather than dedicating weeks of nightly watching to plow through them all. It’s a harsh realization as I have a lot of DVD sets and book series to somehow plow through. Perhaps here and there, a bit at a time, as they were intended.

That said, the books are pleasant and easy to read. I get the sense they’re more cozy fantasies for older ladies, who might be more interested in the geneology that plays heavily in it, the church events, and the cooking. I will get through the rest of the books I have from this author before long, and I’ll buy others in the series when I catch her at ABC Books. So let that be my endorsement.

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