Great Stories’ regular book review feature will discuss both new and older releases from mainstream and independent authors alike. The selections are made of the bloggers own personal reading preferences and not solicited in any way. We would enjoy your feedback and discussion!
Peggy Rembach is a newer author on the scene who has received some accolades in the New England market with two Massachusetts Individual Artist Grant awards and a strong teaching pedigree in the fields of Corrections, Health Care, and Medical Humanities. As well, she has taught Creative Writing at Chatham University and for the University of New Hampshire’s graduate programs. Residing in Northeastern Massachusetts, she wrote the book I had the pleasure of previewing for you called The Lons. It is not Peggy’s first effort, but it is her first in some time as her last book, Fighting Gravity, was published thirteen years ago.
The Lons is a story that centers around the discovery of a mysterious set of lifeforms growing in the watermelon fields of a farmer named Leonard Slinket. Slinket is a man who leads a solitary life and when he happens upon the strange wiffle ball-sized shapes growing in the place of his watermelons, he is at once bewildered and frustrated by their lack of growth. But he quickly senses that there is more to these ‘lons (as Leonard likes to call his crop) than meets the eye. Leonard’s mundane and paint-by-numbers life has just been given new meaning with his quest to solve the enigma of the lon’s origin and the reason for their presence on his property.
Adding particular complication is the uneasy friendship Leonard has with younger and more extroverted friend, John Bigby. When Leonard brings John in on his secret, a clash of philosophy immediately sets a chain of events into motion that will change both their worlds possibly forever. John’s romantic interest, Lydia Rice, is a science teacher who also lends her help to solving the great mystery before them, but at what cost?
Rambach’s story runs 123 pages, and readers who pick up the book will find themselves with a story that is brief enough to be fit into a busy and active lifestyle, but not so brief to be left wanting. Her writing style will be a pleasure for those readers who enjoy highly descriptive prose. Her lengthy sentences might cause some casual or distracted readers to go back and look again at what they read, losing themselves in the detail. There is no doubt that Rambach’s style is to flesh out her character’s thoughts and environment as vividly as possible.
Peggy Rambach, author, undated photo
Artist Pat Keck provides the front cover of the book, which features the transfixed visage of Leonard Slinket holding one of the lons, which is not in proportion to the lons that actually inhabit Rambach’s story, but was undoubtedly done to inspire a more impactful visual effect. The image, too, might lead one to believe that the story may be more directed towards a younger audience, but this is decidedly not the case after having read her work. The story is certainly adult in theme, without being crass or inappropriate for a less mature audience.
If you are in the market for a new author, you could do far worse than picking up a copy of The Lons. As a fan of short stories and novellas, that allow for a more streamlined reading experience, Rambach provides a nice option when the demands of life and responsibility may not accommodate another Stephen King or Tom Clancy style epic. And her detailed prose will leave you with no uncertain impression of the characters and the world they reside.
– Chris (for the Great Stories team)