The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance haunts the small town of Defiance, Texas. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper searches for answers in this gritty and compelling story of love and sorrow, revealing God's hand of redemption in impossible situations. Lyrical fiction from a bright new literary talent.
Being an avid reader for 40 years, this is clearly the saddest, most depressing book I have ever read. from start to finish one is waiting for a redeeming hope for any character and to the last word of the book; there is none.The conclusion does not leave one wanting to read book #2 of the series.
In Daisy Chain, Mary DeMuth has done an excellent job of creating "real-life" characters that touched past realities of my own life. Though at times a bit awkward editorially, this book is a great read and I recommend it highly.
Review by Gretchen HoffmanMary E. DeMuths latest book, Daisy Chain, is a coming of age story about fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper. He lives in Defiance, TX in 1977, a time of small towns where parents didnt have to worry about their children running around. At least they didnt until young Daisy Chance goes missing.Not only is Daisy Jeds best friend, but he was the last one to see her. Jed faces guilt over the disappearance of his friend and struggles with hidden hurts from his seemingly picture-perfect family. Through his pain, Jed must learn to overcome his guilt and find redemption.This novel has been compared to Harper Lees infamous book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lets just say I can totally understand why. Its the newest coming of age story that is so well-written. Daisy Chain has beautiful prose, off-beat but very real characters, and a delicate story. Its one of those books that stays in your mind long after youve finished reading it. The story is a little sad, and I couldnt help wishing things would have turned out differently, but alas, life isnt always happily-ever-after. I would recommend it.
Rarely does a work of Christian Fiction exhibit both literary genius and masterful story telling. Daisy Chain is one of those rare and beautiful finds that touches the heart but also possess a balance of intrigue that keeps the reader turning the pages. Kudos to Mary Demouth for the courage to expose the hypocrisy that makes an intelligent child question what faith is really about. Fourteen-year old Jed Pepper is the son of a very imperfect preacher. Few outside his fathers church know the extent to which his family hurts. Except for Daisy, the love of his life. When she comes up missing, Jed feels alone. Like most young men growing up in abusive homes, feels he must become the protector for his mother and sister. Her struggles with the misperception that he failed to protect Daisy, blaming himself for whatever happened to her. We ache with the least of Defiances citizens on his journey to comprehend this faith his father preaches, a faith veiled by the hypocrisy that so permeates Jeds life. Mary Demuth takes us on an expose of a small Texas town through the eyes of an adolescent. She has crafted a beautiful window into the heart and soul of a boy trapped in rural insanity, before Amber Alerts and child protective services. Like so many small towns we drive through, picturesque and post-card perfect, Defiance hosts pain and sorrow tucked underneath a faux veneer of righteousness. This is the backdrop that haunts Jed as he deals with a family torn apart and the grief he endures from Daisys disappearance. A wonderful read and deserving of all the accolades it has received to date.
Victory through trials and tribulation is the theme of Daisy Chain by Mary E. De Muth. Thirty years ago in Defiance, Texas, the summer when Jed Pepper was fourteen, his best friend, Daisy Marie Chance, died. Jed saw Daisy last after they met in their usual meeting place. He was worried about going home early so he left Daisy alone to go home by herself. A few hours after, still worrying this time if Daisy came home safely, he decided to go back to the old abandoned church where he left her. There he found one of Daisys shoes but no Daisy. He went to her home and found that she has not come home. Filled with guilt, he spends the following days and weeks searching for her as best as he could. But Jed also had problems of his own. His father was their towns preacher. They seemed like the perfect Christian family, but nobody in their town knew what was really going on inside their home. As Jed deals with guilt over Daisy, he also has to deal with their problems at home.Ive had to constantly stop and reflect while I was reading this book. Mary de Muth writes with such poignancy and truthfulness that I was so affected with sadness and pain as I read this. The pain that abuse brings is brought to reality here. Though there is no usual happy ending to this story, there is also the reality of hope in the Lord, that even if our start in this world is so bad, God is still there and is able to change our lives. This is a beautiful, beautiful book and should be read by many. Daisy Chain is the first book in the Defiance, Texas trilogy.
Sometimes you find an author who is able to take difficult subjects, tough truths and weave a poignant story from them. It is rare, indeed, to find books of such depth that also draw you in and will not let you put them down. Every time I crack the binding of a book by Mary Demuth I know I am opening such a book. Her skill at telling stories is made more memorable by the subjects and the characters she creates. Daisy Chain is yet another example of turning trials to triumph.Jed Pepper lives in a typical small town. The time is 1977. His best friend, Daisy Chain, goes missing and Jed is convinced it is his fault. Daisy, in her sweet innocence left a trail of clues for Jed. As Jed follows the clues determined to find her, he finds other hidden things along the way. Hidden secrets within his own family that threaten to destroy his own world. At a time when he needs her the most, his best friend is gone. Jed must grow into manhood through difficult circumstances and only as he does will he find the truth of a God always present, even when no one else is.This is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story or growing up, rebuilding, and redemption. The reader will be drawn into the lives of the characters and work through each struggle with them. It takes one back to simpler days that held complicated problems and the knowledge that God is always there. Daisy Chain will challenge the reader, and touch hearts. I recommend this book for anyone, but especially those searching for God's Hand in the trials of life.
Daisy Chain is an interesting read. Its a book unlike I've read in a long, long time. Mary DeMuth weaves a haunting story of abuse into a slow-moving, but tightly written work of art. Where do abused family members go when their perpetrator is a respected small-town pastor? The truth is that there is really no recourse. There is no shelter. There is no out. Told thru the wide eyes of a 14-year old boy, Daisy Chain shares a riveting story of a lost girl, a legalistic theology, and very human characters. Its the drama of everyday people and everyday life. I read a lot of books. Most are filled with too many words. The mark of a really good writer is the economy of words. Mary Demuth has no wasted words in Daisy Chain. Each is carefully chosen like an artist who agonizes over each brush stroke. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Daisy Chain. I know you will as well.
From the moment this story launches, you are holding tight to your seat, thrust so deeply into these characters lives and the heart of their country life you feel youve become a character. Ive rarely read a book this emotionally gripping. Ive heard this book compared to Leif Engers Peace Like a River. I hold that book in very high esteem as well. And I would agree. Marys coming-of-age story, centered on her hero Jed and heroine Daisy is so well written, so gripping, prose lingering in your mind, even if youre not a highlighter of fiction phrases, you may be tempted to raise a yellow marker to the page. Fantastic novel. Highly recommended.
Mary DeMuth's Daisy Chain opens the gates of dirty family secrets while beautifully demonstrating that real freedom is experienced in "Truth." The very real characters will grip your soul and abide in your memory bank long after you've read the last page. Love, forgiveness, redemption, mystery--all within a masterpiece story. I highly recommend this excellent book to survivors of dysfunctional family relationships (and those who love them), counselors, pastors, and readers looking for an unforgettable book.
A small Texas town. A missing teenage girl. A highly dysfunctional family. A pubescent boy with a heart full of pain, a conscience pricked by guilt, and a life packed with trouble.Wheres Daisy? When Jed Peppers best friend disappears, the boy blames himself for her disappearance and for a myriad of other wrongs in his life. Its hard to find answers when everyone he knows has a passel of dark secrets and hidden vices. In his search for truth, Jed comes to question God His existence, His love, His power to change anything and just about every other authority figure in his life. But two special people, who might just be angels on earth, set out to help the young man find himself.Daisy Chain is a hauntingly beautiful soul-searcher of a novel. I find most coming-of-age books touching and tender, but Mary DeMuth brings a heart-wrenching story to amazing life in this all-too-realistic southern tale about a hurting boy who longs desperately to be a man. Children whove seen too much sorrow. Abuse and dysfunction in families and in the church. A small town reeling from a shocking act of violence that takes one of its own and leaves a gaping wound of questions and suspicions.First in the Defiance Texas Trilogy, Daisy Chain is an undeniable masterpiece. Full of grit and grace, hurting and happiness, love and longing. Packed with all-too-human faults and failures that bring to shining light those breathtaking touches of glory the author tucks away here and there for the reader to find, treasure, and never, ever forget.Beautifully done!
Long before Daisy Chance went missing, Jed Pepper knew that life was unpredictable.Long before weeks passed without any word from his best friend, Jed Pepper knew life wasnt fair.Long before the final tragedy played out, Jed Pepper knew well that life didnt give a person what they deserved.But then Jed knew a lot of hard things about life by the time hed reached the age of fourteen. But even knowing those things, Jed kept looking for the story to change, for the ending to play out different. Jed Pepper never gave up hope.In this poignant coming of age story we see the most horrific nightmare that can be imagined played out in just the first pages. A child goes missing, her last words coming back again and again to haunt the young boy who saw her last. Youll regret it. The words hung on the air, and in the heart of the boy who stubbornly refused to give up home when everyone else did.Jed Peppers life isnt easy. Living in an abusive home, is it any wonder that hes got a lot of questions about what God is really likeespecially given the one hurting him is his preacher papa? But the one thing Jed does have is hope. And the fragile faith that maybe, just maybe, God cares about him after all.This book will haunt you long after you turn the last page. The answers arent all there, and so leaves you hungry for the next book thats sure to come. What we do have is this, a story about change. About second chances. And about Gods love shining in the darkest of places. Dont miss this one. Youll surely regret it if you do.
Forty-four-year-old Jed Pepper still can't say goodbye to his first love, Daisy Chance, so he returns to Crooked Creek Church, the place where he last saw Daisy before her abduction. As Jed stands and looks at the barren field where the church used to be, he becomes that fourteen-year-old boy again. He remembers Daisy's thirteen-year-old words. "Your family ain't normal, Jed." Jed's father, Hap, is a minister who abuses Jed at home. His mother, Ouisie, who is afraid to confront Hap, writes notes on the petals of the flowers that she puts in Jed's room. Jed's younger sister, Sissy, usually stays out of Hap's way, thanks to Jed. Not only does Jed suffer at home, he blames himself over Daisy's disappearance. Jed and Sissy do share one humorous memory together when they remember the poison-berry story, and Sissy begs Jed to repeat the tale. For one brief moment, Jed is forty-four again, recalling how his own children now beg to hear the same story.As the novel ends, it returns to the older Jed as he stands on top of the ruins of Crooked Creek Church. He still has trouble talking about everything, especially about what happened with Daisy, but he's arrived--for her. This novel's ending is different, yet I found it quite plausible. People who have suffered tragedy and abuse do have difficulty talking about it, even years later. Things are left undone in their lives, because for them, things don't always end wrapped up neatly with a bow. I applaud the author for tackling these tough topics with complete realism and truth, which is a rarity. The author shines a light, revealing the darkness of these terrible sins (secrets), with writing that displays extraordinary imagery and lyrical flavor.
Daisy Chains portrayal of the harshness and beauty of deeply flawed lives both chills and warms the heart. It is about recognizing that betrayal at the hands of those who ought to have loved better and the weight of sorrow that ensues, is not the end of the story. There is One who loves perfectly. There is more.
This is a haunting and achingly compelling book about lives that aren't all sunshine and roses. It reminded me in some ways of To Kill a Mockingbird, as both novels present a less-than-ideal world as viewed through the raw lens of a child trying to make sense of it all. As a mom, I found it difficult to read at times. I found myself hurting with Jed as he tries to process the pain in his life - Daisy's disappearance, his preacher-father's public personna contrasted with the man he becomes behind closed doors, the interactions with the other folks in the town, his desperate longing and tentative attempts to be a man - and as he tries to come to terms with how God fits into all of it. On page 252, he wonders, "Should he pray? To God? Again? What good would it do? Would God even hear a prayer from someone who yelled at dogs? Hap said prayer didn't change God so much as it changed you. Well, if that was true, and Hap was a praying man like he said he was, God hadn't seemed to keep up his end of the bargain. Hadn't changed Hap ... for the better ... as far as Jed could see, that is."Hope and grace come to Jed from unexpected sources. Among other things, this book reminds us of the importance of looking beyond the surface and allowing God to use us to be "tangible proof that [a hurting individual] matters to someone."
Mary Demuth writes about difficult subjects in an engaging way. This book explores the dynamics of dysfunctional families and shows how different children react in varying ways. It's a wonderful, engaging and entertaining tale with discreet lessons.
Jedd been one to see the world in comic book contrasts. Bad folks and good folks. Villians and innocents. Heroes and killers. But sitting under the shade of a wide-reaching tree, eating peanut butter cookies and drinking Hixons ice-cold lemonade, he wondered if life was really like that. (Daisy Chain)A thought-provoking and memorable novel filled with reality the good and the bad. The characters are wonderfully real and complex. I normally read most Christian novel's in one day, devouring them quickly like my favourite chocolate; Daisy Chain was different. It took me days to read and left me thinking long after the book had been put down, If youre looking for a quick read with predictable, stereotypical, feel-good characters, this is not the book for you. If you want a book about real people and real life, the good and the bad irrevocably mixed together, if you want a fresh perspective on Gods grace to all of us, I highly recommend Mary De Muths Daisy Chain. I look forward to reading the remaining books of this trilogy!
With red dirt realism, the poignant memories and mysterious events of main character Jed Peppers life story intertwine with the magnetic voice of his one true love, Daisy Marie Chance, while Jeds parents, little sister and eccentric friends keep the pages turning through the darkest of family secrets. Haunting pain mingles with poetic beauty and poisonous sorrow to weave a Daisy Chain of rhythmic deep breaths. Breathe in: He, God, loves me. Exhale: He, my earthly father, does not know how. Adult characters with evocative childlike faith, an abusive apostate, and the children who experience this startling coming of age tale join author Mary DeMuth in telling a story presented as if Jed, Daisy, Hixon and Bald Muriel directed her to listen while she acted like a faithful scribe. A high tribute to a true professional destined to delight a broader and broader audience with her gift. Those who enjoy Charles Martins style of writing will delight in this well-narrated, eccentric story where mystery and allegory blend with authentic reality, balancing the depths of depravity against the heights of grace. Perhaps the next book in the Defiance Texas Trilogy will reveal the-who-done-it. Looking forward to sorting more clues, this book comes highly recommended.
MARY DEMUTH HAS DONE IT AGAIN A powerful and moving story of a young boy of 14 dealing with life struggles beyond his years. I was captivated by Demuth's portrait of Jed. She draws you into his feelings and his battles with forming his own judgments and opinions. His family and friends are beautifully brought to life. Very sad and very hopeful at the same time. Jed's fight with faith, his devotion to Daisy, his love for his sister and mother will speak to your heart. His love/hate relationship with his father will break your heart. As God puts new friends in his life to help him along this difficult journey, your heart will sing with hope. Daisy Chain will leave you feeling a mix of emotions and a longing to continue the Defiance Texas Trilogy.
I settled myself on the sofa, a cup of hot coffee in hand, looking forward to a really good read. I picked up "Daisy Chain" and began. Right from the start, Jed and Daisy drew me into their world of Old Defiance and New. Who cannot remember being a child in a world removed from grownups, in a time when play was all day long and ruled by imagination, secrets, and scary places? My coffee grew cold as I lost myself in Jed and Daisy's world. Dread seized me as the shadowy circumstances of their lives began to unravel. Then delight--it's going to be a mystery! Eccentric characters like Hixson, Hap, Ousie, Bald Muriel, and Miss Emory fascinated me as the plot thickened. Were they heroes? Or villains? Or both? Could they be trusted? Mary's winding plot and delightful prose held me till the wee hours of morning, all the way to the somewhat perplexing end. Was that the end? Mary leaves some threads of story untied, just like real life. Her book faces hard truths and provides no quick fixes. A most enjoyable read! Can't wait till the sequel comes out!