Publisher and Publication Date: Atria Books. September 12, 2017.
Rating: Very Good.
The Unquiet Grave is three key people who share the same history. The setting is West Virginia. The two years of history are 1897 and 1930.
In 1897, a head-strong young woman named Zona Hester marries a blacksmith. Never mind he has been married before and those marriages ended strangely. Zona wants to marry a handsome man who will shower her with love. Mary Jane is Zona’s mother. Mary Jane is suspicious by nature. She and her husband have fretted over Zona’s behavior for years. They love their willful and defiant daughter, but never knew how to best manage Zona. After Zona marries, Mary Jane hears Zona has died. Mary Jane believes her son-in-law killed Zona. She tells the county prosecutor that the ghost of Zona visited her and told her she’d been murdered. The third key character of the book is the defense attorney, a black man named James P. D. Gardner. When he begins telling his story the year is 1930.
No, I did not plan to read two ghost stories in a row.
I like this story more than the previous story read: Grief Cottage.
Several points led me to give The Unquiet Grave a very good rating.
• The story of a black attorney at the turn of the twentieth century appealed to me. He had perseverance and fortitude to attend higher education to become an attorney in an age when blacks were severely oppressed.
• Mary Jane is a woman and mother with tenacity. She does not let things go. When she believes in something she finds a way to make “it” happen. She is a keen problem solver. She has had a life time to solve the after affects of Zona’s behavior. Mary Jane’s husband is meek. Mary Jane is the opposite.
• Zona is a mess. She leaves a wake of large waves behind her. After she marries, the household of her childhood home is quiet. After marriage, the spark of her personality is gone. She is a waif of her former self.
• The Unquiet Grave is a descriptive story. Whether it is the scenery or a character’s face.
• I love the background for the writing of this story. It is a mix of folklore, based on the Greenbrier Ghost.