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09/27/2013 11:52 am ET Updated Nov 27, 2013

With MOTHER OF RAIN, Zacharias Plays By Her Own Rules.

Book Review Jackie K Cooper
MOTHER OF RAIN BY Karen Spears Zacharias

Karen Spears Zacharias is a writer with a mind of her own. She picks the subject matter of her books and gives us a full viewpoint be it in a fiction or a non-fiction setting. MOTHER OF RAIN is Zacharias' first novel and it focuses on the hill people of Tennessee. The time is the 1930's and 40's and the people who inhabit this land are a deeply religious group with a distinct way of speaking. Into this group is born Maizee Hurd, a child who has a rough road ahead of her.

Maizee is beautifully created and described by Zacharias. She is loving, friendly and intelligent but into her life falls more than just a little bit of rain. She loses her mother at an early age and is sent to live with her aunt and uncle. This one event plants a seed of doubt in her mind as to how loveable she is and if people really care about her. As her life progresses these doubts become more and more of her personality.

Zacharias doesn't play by the normal rules of writing. There are certain plot events she could have planted in her writing that would have made the story more commercial and enjoyable. However, just when you think she is going to move her story to an even keel she yanks the rug out from under the reader and lets the story veer into a new direction.

For example, MOTHER OF RAIN starts off with a horrific event that looms over the ensuing pages of the story. Is it a necessary plot point? Not at all. But it does set the shape and tone of the story for all the pages that follow. When the end of the story arrives, it arrives with a whimper. The cataclysmic arc of the story occurs pages before the ending of the book. So the book starts with a bang and ends with a whimper.

This may sound like a criticism but instead it is a testimony to Zacharias' need to follow her heart and mind. She apparently knows exactly what she wants her story to project and she does it at all costs. The reader may want the story to follow a more accepted path but in the end the skills and dedication of the author have to be appreciated.

MOTHER OF RAIN is a book that will chill you as you are reading it and haunt you when it is finished. Love it or not, you will have to admire the talent behind it. This is a book written the way the author wants it to go and her vision impacts the story and the readers' reaction.

MOTHER OF RAIN is published by Mercer University Press. It contains 256 pages and sells for $17.00.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com

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