Linda Leigh Hargrove File:
Reviewed by Sheryl Root
The Making of Isaac Hunt
by Linda Leigh Hargrove
"Not since reading Sharon Ewell Foster's Passing by Samaria have I been as impressed by how an author deals genuinely and authentically with issues of racial prejudice."
With realistic and complex characters reminiscent of Lisa Samson and a plot line weaving in not only racial and relationship issues, but a page-turning mystery, you'd certainly never dream that The Making of Isaac Hunt is Linda Leigh Hargrove's first published novel.
Isaac Hunt is a fair-skinned, blue-eyed, black man who has grown up as the only child of wealthy and powerful parents—his father a judge, his mother a city councilwoman. While he may be able to "pass" for white, as his best friend Tate often reminds him, Isaac is tired of feeling like he never fits in—to the blacks he is too light skinned and to the whites his features are too "black." Isaac just wants to find his place in the world.
When his granddaddy's deathbed confession reveals that Isaac is adopted and his birth mother, Betty Douglas, lives in North Carolina, Isaac can't let it rest, even though his adoptive parents do everything they can to discourage him from finding her. Hiring a private investigator to obtain more information, Isaac begins a journey that will take him to the small town of Pettigrew—ruled by the powerful and white Benson family—and uncovers secrets that some would prefer remain buried.
Along the way, Isaac meets people who challenge his perceptions—of others, of himself, and most importantly, of God. People like Miss Lucretia, who welcomes him into her home and family as if he had always belonged; Miss Lucretia's granddaughter, Catty, who gets under his skin and challenges every stereotype he ever had about poor black women; and Trip, the white preacher who minces no words but will no more give up on his friends than a dog will give up a bone.
Not since reading Sharon Ewell Foster's Passing by Samaria have I been as impressed by how an author deals genuinely and authentically with issues of racial prejudice. Linda doesn't shy away from "touchy" subjects, but they are not there to make a point, they are there as part of the story. Since her bio states that she has co-led racial reconciliation discussion groups and conducted panels on racism in the church, this authenticity shouldn't be surprising.
Don't miss this debut novel by an author I look forward to reading much more of in the future!
Sheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.