The Tender Grave by Sheri Reynolds is an extremely well-written novel shedding light on some very uncomfortable truths. As the blurb says, “In The Tender Grave, Sheri Reynolds weaves complex themes of parenting, forgiveness, guilt, and accountability into a lyrical and lushly woven tapestry that chronicles our endless search for home, heart and healing.”
The story concerns two sisters who have never met. They were raised separately after their mother left the older sister Teresa with her ex and began a new family with a grifter working as a roving evangelical pastor. At the beginning of the book, Dori, the younger sister is running from the law after she participates in a serious hate crime involving a gay student in her school. She heads to her sister’s address hoping to hide with her, not realizing Teresa is married to a woman. Thus begins a story that is tragic in many ways, and yet uplifting as well.
This is not an easy read, but I think it is an important one. These characters could be drawn from real life, they are so well developed. In fact, I knew a Dori (not her real name). My “Dori” was raised in some ways similar to the book’s Dori, and ended up in corresponding circumstances in her life. I think that is what connected me to this tale and especially to the character of Dori.
This is an excellent novel with a gripping story and unforgettable characters. I’m glad I was given a chance to read this book.
I received an ARC from Bywater Books for an honest review.