A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Faith. Family. Fiction. Fun.

Stars of Alabama {A Book Review}

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

One child preacher traveling across the plains.

One young woman with a mysterious touch.

Two old friends, their baby, and their bloodhound.

And all the stars that shine above them.

When fifteen-year-old Marigold becomes pregnant amid the Great Depression, she is rejected by her family and forced to fend for herself. And when she loses her baby in the forest, her whole world turns upside down. She’s even more distraught upon discovering she has an inexplicable power that makes her both beautiful and terrifying—and something of a local legend.

Meanwhile, migrant workers Vern and Paul discover a violet-eyed baby and take it upon themselves to care for her. The men soon pair up with a widow and her two children, and the misfit family finds its way in fits and starts toward taking care of each other.

As survival brings one family together, a young boy finds himself with nary a friend to his name as the dust storms rage across Kansas. Fourteen-year-old Coot, a child preacher with a prodigy’s memory, is on the run with thousands of stolen dollars—and the only thing he’s sure of is that Mobile, Alabama, is his destination.

As the years pass and a world war looms, these stories intertwine in surprising ways, reminding us that when the dust clears, we can still see the stars.

Sean Dietrich is a columnist, podcaster, speaker, and novelist, known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Southern Living, The Tallahassee Democrat, Good Grit, South Magazine, The Bitter Southerner, Thom Magazine, and The Mobile Press Register, and he has authored ten books. Visit Sean online at seandietrich.com or @seanofthesouth on Instagram.

To be entirely honest, I'm not quite sure that Stars of Alabama was quite what I expected before I started reading... but what I got was so much better. It was truly one of the best novels I've read lately....and believe me, I've read a lot of them!

From the very start, I was transported through time and place to Alabama in the time of the Great Depression. Clearly, this is neither a time nor a place that I know of personally, but through his beautifully imagery and fantastic southern dialog, I felt as though I was there--- seeing and hearing it all perfectly. To me that ability to picture it all is truly the sign of a great story teller and Sean Dietrich certainly is that!

In Stars of Alabama, we follow the story of three quite different groups of characters. From the start, we can see how two of these stories are intertwined though they hadn't exactly met. I assumed that they would all cross paths at some point in the story, and in the meantime, I found myself rooting for each of these characters and wondering how their story would work out. The book was broken into short chapters (100 total to give you a better idea), which jumped back and forth from each group of characters. Normally, when a story jumps back and forth too often I find that it can be distracting and hard to follow, but personally I did not find that to be true for this one. The author did such a great job at establishing these characters that I found it was pretty easy to jump back and forth. I will say the time jumps (two separate ones) threw me a bit at first and I had to readjust my thinking to establish ages and such, but in the end I actually enjoyed getting to see these characters grow up and felt that that really added to the impact of the story.

I was a little surprised at the supernatural aspect of the story, just because I wasn't quite expecting it... but while it was an important part of the story, it wasn't the sole focus. I personally enjoy these more mystical stories anyway, but I don't feel like it's overwhelming to a point where others who might not still couldn't enjoy the story as well. More than anything, it truly was a story about the people- with the families and unlikely friendships along the way. Overall, it was a great read and one I would certainly recommend.


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