In a town she personifies, Ouisie Pepper wrestles with her own defiance. Desperate to become the wife and mother her husband Hap demands, Ouisie pours over a simple book about womanhood, constantly falling short, but determined to improve. Through all that self-improvement, Ouisie carries a terrible secret: she knows who killed Daisy Chance. As her children inch closer to uncovering the killer’s identity and Hap’s rages roar louder and become increasingly violent, Ouisie has to make a decision. Will she protect her children by telling her secret? Or will Hap’s violence silence them all? Set on the backdrop of Defiance, Texas, Ouisie’s journey typifies the choices we all face—whether to tell the truth about secrets and fight for the truth or bury them forever and live with the violent consequences.
What I thought:
Mary E DeMuth brilliantly concludes her Defiance Texas Trilogy with ‘Life in Defiance’. Poignant, heartbreaking yet written with exquisite style and stunningly beautiful prose, Mary sensitively brings out Ousie’s journey and settles all those burning questions from earlier ‘Daisy Chain’ and ‘A Slow Burn’.
Mary takes you on a journey into the heart and mind of Ousie Pepper as she struggles to discern where her own defiance has been the cause of her marital problems and where it has been her husband’s defiance. I was moved to tears for Ousie as she defends her husband’s tyrannical behaviour while blaming herself. Mary shows the mind of a battered wife without condemnation, with events so shocking that they are entirely realistic.
I was thoroughly satisfied with the revelation of Daisy’s murderer. Mary leaves her characters without having tied up all the problems up with a neat little bow to live happily ever after. To do so would have been completely unrealistic, out of keeping with the story. Rather, Mary leaves her characters with good things to look forward in amongst the issues that each of them have still to deal with in their lives.
‘Life in Defiance’ is not an easy read. I found the content challenging, disturbing and heart-rending. And yet, the way Mary deals with such weighty and tough topics is deeply insightful, carefully cradled in the beautiful expression she uses to bring out the fullness of her message.
Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence
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