Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson is a novel whose main character is a late Nineteenth Century house sitting in Cottonwood, Georgia, a fictitious town that is dying but holds a great many historical buildings, including this house. The main human character, Jo-Lynn Hunter, is an interior designer with relatives in Cottonwood, and after her uncle dies, she decides to restore the house, which has been sorely neglected throughout the years. This also gives her an excuse to get away from her husband. She feels they have drifted apart, and does not enjoy the role of being a “trophy” wife.
As she begins the project, Jo-Lynn sees two suspicious men wandering around one night at the barn. Later, someone breaks into the house and sets the pantry on fire. Also, words alluding to her to get out of Cottonwood are spread on a wall in animal feces. Undeterred but very frightened, Jo-Lynn continues her work, and discovers a secret room containing papers that implicate her great-grandfather associated with the Ku Klux Klan. All this comes to a head toward the end of the book, answering questions for both Jo-Lynn and the reader about her family.
A secondary plot is presented concerning Jo-Lynn’s aunt and uncle and a young man named Valentine Bach. Starting in the mid-1930s, Bach and the aunt, Stella Neville, were lovers, and Stella became pregnant. But instead of marrying, Bach was forced by his parents into an arranged marriage to another girl. The baby girl is born and soon adopted by Bach and his new wife Lilly Beth. The secret stays hidden for the next seventy years, and at the climax of the story, Bach and Stella reconcile.
Written in first-person narrative, this book is mildly interesting and there is ample reference to God and how one’s faith can help in times of tragedy and uncertainty. A quote from Nehemiah 6:2 speaks of schemers who try to undo one’s project. This speaks to Jo-Lynn directly and strengthens her resolve. One criticism is that too many characters, namely relatives and family members, are introduced, making it confusing to keep them straight. Overall, the novel would be enjoyed by Christian women readers. – Anita Tiemeyer, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family manse in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. And it's the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her self-absorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends.
Beneath the dust and the peeling wallpaper, things are not what they seem, and what Jo-Lynn doesn't know about her family holds just as many surprises. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will her own marriage survive the renovation?
Jo-Lynn isn't sure she wants to know the truth--but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.