When I was first asked to write a book review of Southern Yellow Pine Publishing’s newest author, Rocky Porch Moore’s first novel, I was nervous. First of all, I’ve never done a book review on this blog before. Outside of the assigned book reports I’ve had to do throughout the years, I’ve never reviewed a book for public consumption. Second, a four-fingered man could count the number of novels I’ve read on one hand. Having scammed my way into a free pizza with the Book-It program for many years, I graduated from high school having not read a single book from cover to cover. Since then, I’ve learned to enjoy reading, when it fits my particular areas of nerdery like theology or church history. I just don’t do fiction. Last, but certainly not least, Rocky is a parishioner of mine, what if I didn’t like her book?
While my first fear is still alive, the others faded away almost immediately as I opened Moore’s debut novel, Clemenceau’s Daughters. Much in the way that I wouldn’t say I liked Slumdog Millionaire, or I enjoy the Passion Narratives, the sheer intensity of Clemenceau’s Daughters precludes me from saying I liked it, but the truth of the matter is, for a guy who doesn’t do fiction, I could not stop reading this book.
The story moves quickly. So quickly, in fact, that at points I found myself wishing the action would slow a bit so I could catch my breath, but it continued, nearly unabated. Just when I felt like I was catching up with where the author was taking me, we started on another adventure, and I found myself enjoying the next ride as much as the one before.
Moore is a master of imagery. The book, which jumps between the mountains of north Alabama in the 20th century and the rolling hills of feudal France, is filled with vivid descriptions. As I read, I could feel the heat of an Alabama summer day, feel the sting of a hand raised in anger, and smell the stench of a drunk who won’t dry out by morning. No matter where the action takes place, one gets the sense that Moore had been there before.
I hope you’ll take the time one evening to pour yourself a bourbon, sit by the fire, and experience the adventure that is Clemenceau’s Daughter.