There is a powerful tradition in American literature of stories about country folk, growing from childhood to maturity, going about their business, making a good life for themselves and their families, sometimes despite major difficulties. This is what the story in Reflections accomplishes. True to tradition, it is excellently written with amazingly effective detail on every page of the full-length book. The author starts with a dramatic episode forewarning us of the tragic end of the story when we see the heroine, Linda, goes sorrowfully home to the empty house her parents, killed in a traffic accident, have left behind. Other negative elements in this gently paced book include the well-described tension between Linda’s mother, a town girl who appears out of sorts with country living, whose bitterness is vented on both Linda and her close-bonded and wonderful Daddy. Happily this is resolved before the book ends. There is a short-lived tension between Linda and her husband Tom, less believably presented but dramatically apt. Other challenges include the first-rate dramatic episode of Linda and her bosom friend Janie attacked by three convicts, and also Tom’s serious accident at work. The rest is all plain and happy sailing throughout the story, which follows the path of All American perfection: good people are pictured in great detail doing good things. Linda is caught up in the Vietnam fiasco as a military wife, but survives unharmed with a brace of babies (in the ideal combination of, first, a boy and then a girl) by the time her young husband Tom, who was in ‘Nam for a lengthy stay, eventually gets his discharge papers. This he does. without suffering PTSD or physical injury, although settling back with his teenage bride is not easy. In a world that is full of violence, and hatred, it is good to discover that the Great American Story is still being written with a conviction and flair that can be compared favorably with any of the stories that made so deep an impression on American readers in days gone by.
Peter Watson Jenkins
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)