In my world, John Grisham is an unforgettable author. I can recall the first book I read by him, A Time to Kill which was a New York Times Bestseller that eventually became a movie. It is hard to believe that the novel was written 24 years ago and I’m pretty sure I read it when I was in college. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it is about a small town lawyer, Jake Brigance in Mississippi who defends a black man accused of killing 2 white men who raped his 10 year old daughter. The book was a great read and looked closely at race relations in the South. Fast forward 24 years and today John Grisham has released the book Sycamore Row, a story that follows the path of Jake 3 years after A Time to Kill when he is again called upon to take a case filled with a racial tension.
In Sycamore Row, Jake is named the attorney on record in the handwritten will of Seth Hubbard, a wealthy businessman who hanged himself on a Sycamore Tree and asks him to defend the will at all costs. Although Seth had a prior will leaving his assets to his son and daughter, the new will written the day before he commits suicide names his black housekeeper as the beneficiary of 95% of his wealth and completely cuts out his children and their families.
In the book, Mr. Grisham explores the mystery surrounding the change in the will, the courtroom drama and race relations and the potential impact on the trial regarding the will. The writing is excellent and although for many people the book may start off slow, I recommend sticking with it until the end because it is an absolutely engaging story. I was very happy to see the return of Jake and truly enjoyed this novel. Sycamore Row hit stores today and I received an early copy to read because of my participation in the Walmart Mom bookclub. It is currently available Walmart.com for $16.36 which is 43% off of the suggested retail price.