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Margaret Verble’s debut novel Maud’s Line is set in the Cherokee area of Oklahoma in the 1920s. Maud Nail is part of the Cherokee community, living on the government allotment given to her family by the US government. With a drunk father, who fails to take responsibility and an emotionally weak brother, Maud has no choice but to take control of everything. The story starts with a bang- when Maud has to shoot the injured cow. Life at the allotment is tough- household chores, family feuds, violence and discrimination. The only thing that adds colour to Maud’s mundane and grey life is her love for books. Little does she know that it’s these books that change the course of her life forever.
Destiny brings the handsome Booker Wakefield across Maud’s allotment line, peddling his goods. Attracted by the stacks of books in the wagon and the peddler’s green eyes, Maud falls in love with him. What follows is sweet romance( a bit too forward sometimes, given that the setting is 1920s), more violence, disappointments and life choices. One wonders whether Maud crosses her “Line” or stays shackled behind.
Our integrity is what we are proud of at The Good Book Corner. So when it comes to book reviews, we give our opinions without any bias. We also know how hard it is for first time authors, coming out with what they consider a piece of their heart – painstakingly nurtured, moulded and then out there, open to critique. For that, we commend Margaret Verble. Margaret writes well and manages to keep the reader intrigued till the very end. However, the storyline moves a bit too fast. I wanted to like Maud and to connect with her, but there was too much happening in her life. She comes across as a strong woman, who can singlehandedly handle whatever curve ball life throws at her. Her relationship with her brother is “LOVELY”( Incidentally the brother is called Lovely). Her romance with Booker adds a bit of charm to the story. Maud could very easily have been any country girl during that period, who wanted much more than what she was handed out. Given Maragaret’s Cherokee heritage, I would have liked to read more about the Cherokee way of life, beliefs and culture. However, Maud’s Line comes across as a regular story from the 1920s, set in mid-western America. As mentioned earlier, Margaret writes well and I do look forward to reading her next.