I feel almost guilty reviewing Susan Wigg's "Home Before Dark" because I like her writing so much, her evocative descriptions of place, in this case Texas Hill Country, and her characters are very real and delightful, as is the dialogue. It's just the plot and the theme or through-line were, for me, obvious, trite, unbelievable, and simplistic. By Chapter Three, it was all so programmatic, as if morality and justice were simple equations that could be added up to create "fairness".
First we have the ambitious, selfish, talented, sort of bad girl photographer sister, who slept with the guy who eventually made a good husband for her good beyond belief sister, and got pregnant by him, and left the child for her good sister and her ex-husband to raise. And the photographer sister goes off to New Zealand without telling her sister that the child is her husband's or I mean that her husband is her ex-lover who fathered the child she leaves behind for them to raise. Get it? I mean, really, I know people have secrets, but this is ridiculous. This sort of thing may happen on Oprah or Dr. Phil, but those people are on those shows because they have huge problems. Fact is stranger than fiction, and it's allowed to be, because it's fact and you can't dispute it. But fiction, unless it's fantasy, has to be a little closer to normal, in my book, anyway.
Anyway, the selfish but talented sister is going blind, just so she doesn't get off scot free after committing the the sin of dumping her premature baby of her illicit affair with her sister's soon to be husband, on her poor sister, who is also talented, but gives it all up for family. But never fear, the soon to be blind photographer comes home to help and finds the man of her dreams before she loses her sight. Whew! Everybody gets their just desserts in this flamingly overblown world of REALLY BIG PROBLEMS, in case you were worried.
And on and on Wiggs goes, parsing out moral punishments and rewards for good and bad behavior like a trainer doling out dogie treats.
I have no objection to the morality of what she advocates, or to her actual writing, I just can see it all coming from page 2, so all her pretty descriptions and fun little scenes feel like emotional manipulation to serve Wiggs' prim, little moral universe. Sorry, can't recommend it