Contemporary · Full Reviews

Full Review, Sutter’s Cross

But one child, looking up, saw farther and deeper and wider than the others. He saw the glittering bursts and showers but he saw fireflies too, and stars, all of them sparks of hope flung upward like prayers into the night. For in one quiet, unexpected moment, he had looked beyond the stars and caught a glimpse of God.

Sutter’s Cross
By W. Dale Cramer
Bethany Press, ©2003

Cravings usually go hand-in-hand with food, but as I was writing this review back in April I found myself craving something a little bigger: summertime. Summertime colors; the creek bubbling to life again; my porch-style swing—oh, how I missed reading and swaying on that swing on a hot day. Where I live it’s a long wait for summertime.

It’s not a coincidence that I was missing all these things just as I finished Sutter’s Cross; W. Dale Cramer captures all the nuances of the simple things in life in such a relatable way. Picnics. Woods. Old people. Young people. Did I mention picnics? When is 4th of July going to get here?

The story revolves around various characters, but all are influenced by one in particular–Harley. Drifting into the town of Sutter’s Cross from who-knows-where, Harley raises eyebrows as he demonstrates the resounding message of 1 Corinthians 1:27 (“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”-KJV).

While Cramer’s thoughtful writing style is vivid and superbly quotable, (I’ll never forget aged Mrs. Dewberry remembering the old days and saying that back then “it seemed like life was hard on the body and easy on the mind. Now life’s easy on the body and hard on the mind”) I chose to give this book, his first ever published, a three star rating. Primarily I gave this a middle rating because I feel the book leaned too long on character introductions and exploration before getting to the heart of the plot. I struggled to maintain interest toward the tail end of the first third of the book, wondering when all the characters and foreshadowing were actually going to “do something”.

Still, if you’ve ever enjoyed a walk in the woods without knowing exactly where you’re going to go, and stopped occasionally to take in your surroundings, you’ll appreciate the sincerity of this novel as much as I did. ~3/5 Stars

Thank you for coming back for another review! If you end up reading Sutter’s Cross, please pass along your opinions of the book—and in the meantime, I’m wondering– what are you craving at the moment?

If you get a chance to return next Monday I have an exciting post planned– a Q&A session with a very gracious author! Please check back if you’re interested!

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