Tobacco Sun by Lorna Hollifiled : A Review
Rating : 3/5
Tobacco Sun, the debut novel by Lorna Hollifield, is a southern tale of the journey of two sisters from a troubled past to a future of acceptance and redemption. Half-sisters Jimmi-Lyn and Sydra are like chalk and cheese not just in appearance but in nature too. Jimmi-Lyn, born with a disfiguring birthmark on her face, is loving, caring and submissive; everything that Sydra is not! Sydra, the belle of the village is a present day Hollywood starlet reveling in money and fame yet struggling with the unresolved issues related to her father Sid Bumgarner. A narcissist and selfish beyond imagination, the only time she returns home after her Hollywood success is to attend her mother’s funeral. The hidden purpose of this visit is to seduce a childhood sweetheart who is still unreachable to her even with her Hollywood glamour. Soon, things go awry and the sisters end up with the body of Sid Bumgarner on their porch and Sydra getting arrested for the crime. Lorna deepens the mystery with each chapter giving us with just enough clues to solve it in our head.
There are many factors in this novel which speaks of the talent of this debut author. The language is good with a beautiful description of landscapes. The plot is also interesting with an excellent approach to story narration and an interesting presentation. There is no hurry to reveal the mystery and no unnecessary twists and turns which makes sure that the readers are hooked on. Lorna has managed to hit the right pace for making the mystery intriguing for the readers. Initially, the story appears to be the ranting of a proud starlet who is plotting for means to blind her jail-appointed psychiatrist but with each chapter it gets more and more complicated. Soon, the deep scars of the childhood are brought out and the underlying issues of the protagonists are analyzed. Within a few chapters the serene southern landscape is split open to reveal an underbelly of horrors. Although most of the suspense in the story is predictable, the author manages to pull a trump card over the readers towards the end.
The book is narrated mainly from the point of view of Sydra and Jimmi-Lyn revealing information about their childhood and also outlining the family dynamics, especially the relation between the sisters and that with their father. By alternating the point of view, Lorna has stricken a balance between the tumultuous voice of Sydra and the calm voice of Jimmi-Lyn. Through the story and the experiences of the sisters, the author has managed to handle weighted issues related to the psychological impact of our childhood experiences. Can we be completely free of our upbringing and genealogy at any point of time? Do certain characteristics and actions of our parents continue to live through us?
Overall, the book is an interesting read and the author has managed to retain the suspense and the mystery elements. This does not appear to be like the work of a debutante and can be read by all lovers of thrillers.
About the Author
Lorna Hollifield was born in Asheville, North Carolina, but now enjoys the island life outside of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Kimsey, and two mutts, Scarlet and Daisy. She’s been an author from the time she could speak, always spinning yarns for anyone who would listen. She began her professional writing journey as a tourism and travel blogger, before finally deciding to pursue her dream of publishing fiction. Tobacco Sun is her first novel, and she’s delighted to share it with the world! Lorna also enjoys serving the South Carolina Writers Association, and loves speaking about her craft at literary conferences and community events (especially charitable ones). When Lorna isn’t writing fiction, she enjoys blogging about writable women at whatswriteincharleston.com!