Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sweet Olive

Matt Damon recently starred in a movie called "Promised Land" in which he played someone whose job it is to get people to agree to sell the rights of their land so his firm can use it for fracking (hydraulic fracturing, or a process where highly pressurized water, sand, and chemicals are are injected into wells, where they break apart rock containing natural gas). He goes to "the heartland," so to speak, to do this, but has a change of heart.

The heroine of this book, Camille Gardner, has a job somewhat similar -- to convince landowners to lease their land to gas and oil companies to drill wells to extract the gas and oil. She too, if not exactly for the same reasons, runs into complication too. Turns out that Camille doesn't really want to be in this line of work. Her passion is art and dreams about owning an art gallery. So, when she feels obligated to take one more job to negotiate new land deals from a group of artists in Sweet Olive, well, trouble brewing is no surprise. She starts to fall in love with the community and the locals ... the book provides a sort of paean to small town life and the "important things in life." And, if one is wondering where Book Sneeze -- who gave me a complimentary copy for this review -- comes in, yes, we also come to see how Camille has to turn to God to direct her path professionally and personally in order for her to do what is right.

Jane Austen in "Northanger Abbey" noted that a novel is "some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.” If that is the test, this one is pretty good.

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