Genre: Historical Fiction / Southern Fiction
Date of Publication: November 30, 2020
Number of Pages: 359 pages
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“Everything has to be reconciled eventually.”
Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood.
Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.
PRAISE FOR STORK BITE:
“Simonds is a wonderfully talented author and evokes the South in astonishing detail in Stork Bite, making us feel we’re sitting in on a long, sumptuous, serial film production. But don’t think it’s mere eye candy–like the best period dramas, there’s plenty of social commentary here. Highly recommended!” Linore Rose Burkard, author of Regency Romance and Contemporary Suspense.
CLICK TO PURCHASE STORK BITE!
Last year I reviewed L.K. Simond’s ALL IN, an engrossing tale with well-crafted characters and a grittiness that was unexpected for the genre. Knowing her skill for character development, and intrigued by a synopsis that felt entirely different from her last novel, I bit when offered the chance to read and review her newest book Stork Bite.
I was not disappointed. It was a beautifully crafted story with well-developed characters and setting and some strong social commentary.
The story is split into two parts:
Book One is focused on David Walker, a seventeen-year-old black man whose encounter with a Klansmen ends violently, and this one unfortunate, unplanned situation changes the trajectory of his life. Set in 1913, the violent interaction instigates what is otherwise a slowly unfolding story. This first book is contemplative and introspective. Simonds paints a vivid picture of his daily existence in the first year alone in the wilds of the East Texas bayou around Caddo Lake, then, later, as he spends time working for the Tatum family as they eke out an existence on their family farm.
For as much narrative as there is in Book One, it is the remembered conversations with his grandfather and mother that provide the deepest insights into who David is and why he is doing what he does.
“Today is a crossroads for you, son. Are you going to meet the wickedness in the world with anger and frustration, or will you find another way? There are already too many angry people in the world.”
– L.K. Simonds, Stork Bite
The first book ends almost abruptly, and David seemingly disappears from the book as Book Two begins ten-years later. It introduces two new female characters whose lives intersect but have very distinct stories.
Book Two is less descriptive narration and more dialogue and character interaction, and this is where I feel Simonds really shines. Her character development is wonderful. I was pulled into the lives of two young women with very different lives, one black, one white, but both with dreams of something beyond what current society typically allows.
With both stories, there is again a very good sense of what the world these characters inhabit is like. The second book spans a much longer timeframe, and there is a lot more character development.
As mentioned, David all but disappears in the second book until the end, where the two stories are quickly tied together. Despite this, the two books have very different feels. I did have questions about David’s choices that I felt still weren’t quite addressed fully by the end, and I wish he had been brought into the story a little sooner. I also have questions about Mae’s husband Jax and their relationship in general.
While I had to work a bit in the first half of the novel, the second half was a satisfying reward enough. Stork Bite was a book that snuck up on me quietly. I was not expecting to find myself quite so involved with the characters. In addition, I definitely shed a few tears – several times – as each person’s stories wrapped up.
Four stars for Stork Bite by L.K. Simonds.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local whose debut novel, All In, was published in 2019.
Signed Paperbacks of ALL IN and STORK BITE
Plus $50 Visa Gift Card.
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 5, 2021
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