This is my first encounter with Nancy Means Wright, and quite frankly it will probably be my last. For while HARVEST OF BONES isn't actually downright bad, it isn't a very believable--nor is it particularly memorable. Indeed, only two days after I finished reading it, I have considerable difficulty recalling the names of the major characters, much less the convolutions of the plot.
And convoluted it is indeed. Fay Hubbard, a 50-something woman, has left her husband and come to rural Vermont to run a B&B--but her first guest proves to be the property's former owner, an elderly and eccentric woman who has escaped from her retirement home with the aid of a younger but equally eccentric niece. And when a decaying skeleton is unearthed on the family farm... well, it just might be the old lady's long-missing husband. Then again, it might have something to do with that mysterious women's retreat down the road. Or the long-ago suicide of the local lady-killer. Or the mean old man who spies on the women's retreat. You just never know.
Throughout the book, Wright presents us with a number of less-than-likable male characters and then counters them with a host of women who have been made unhappy by men--most often through bad marriages, but with the occasional bout of spousal abuse, kidnapping, and rape thrown in for emphasis. In the hands of another writer, this might actually add up to an interesting statement, but since Wright's characters are more akin to a Saturday morning cartoon than reality, it ultimately reads like the writer is having a personal snit. And when all is said and done, none of it really has much to do with the story itself.
All in all, Wright reads rather like a wannabe Rita Mae Brown without any sense of humor. Yes, you can get through it, and yes, it is actually painless so to do. But there's much better stuff out there, so give HARVEST OF BONES a miss.
--GFT (Amazon.com Reviewer)--