Monday, November 10, 2008

The Crayon Messages, by Christine Thackeray - A Review

Christine Thackeray is fearless. She doesn’t hesitate to suggest that all is not well in Zion, at least where some of the Relief Society sisters are concerned. Her description of a confrontation in the foyer between Cath Reed and the Relief Society secretary is delicious.
Come to think of it, Cath Reed is fearless, too. She manages to also be articulate and self-possessed—something I never am. I’m one of those people who sputter and stammer and end up saying, “Oh yeah?”

Cath is also Christian and, sigh, an excellent visiting teacher.

Christine Thackeray has fashioned a sweet tale about a visiting teacher with a challenging companion. I won’t tell you what the challenge is, but this companion is the hub around which many of the sub plots turn. And, when you start with such a quirky premise, the sub plots are bound to be interesting and fun, too.

There are lots of little plot loops that spiral around, drawing you in, making you wonder what comes next, and then the ends are tied up quite nicely.

When I say The Crayon Messages is a sweet tale, I don’t mean it’s cloying. It’s like a SweeTart—one of those candies that zings you every now and then just to make sure your acid buds are still functioning.

Christine’s main character, Cath Reed, is well realized. She's definitely a multi-dimensional character. I think I would like to have known more about her secondary characters: the organist, the nursery care leader, the bishop’s inactive wife—even the Relief Society secretary. These aren't your stock ward members, and I 'd love to hear more of their stories. You can bet with Christine Thackeray telling them, they'd be interesting and just slightly off-the-wall.

This is Christine Thackeray’s first novel. I can’t wait to read her second. Maybe I’ll meet some of those secondary characters in the next book, and I’ll get my wish.


Carole Thayne said...

Sounds like a fun story.

Valerie Ipson said...

Very nice review, Liz. You captured the book just right.

Christine Thackeray said...


Thank you, Liz. I didn't know you were going to do this. I really appreciate it and just finished writing the next "Visiting Teaching Adventure." We'll see how it goes.

Sarah Albrecht said...

This sounds like a great read! I'm always up for one and love it when someone points me in the right direction!