06 January 2010

Short Review: The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

I read The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard early in 2008. Here is part of the publisher's summary (from Powell's website):

Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger scours his father's pasture, looking for helpless newborn calves. Then he makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. . . . It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. The mysterious dead girl — the "Virgin of Small Plains" — inspires local reverence. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave. . . .

But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did young Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the Virgin's body was found? . . .

Seventeen years later, when Mitch suddenly returns to Small Plains, simmering tensions come to a head, ghosts that had long slumbered whisper anew, and the secrets that some wish would stay buried rise again from the grave of the Virgin.
I listened to the audiobook read by Kymberly Dakin. I didn't record my thoughts about the narration, but I thought the mystery was well done. Although I figured out some parts fairly early on, there were still a couple of surprises for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was drawn in by the characters and plot. I gave the novel a solid B.

The cover is from the 2007 Ballantine edition. (Source: Bought; see review policy.)

Reading at the Beach is the host for this meme: Each week she invites us to spotlight a book whose title begins with the featured letter. This week it's V.


Anonymous,  1/6/10, 7:59 AM  

This was on my list of best mysteries read in 2009. I thought it was very well done. My mystery book group read it last spring and everyone liked it. I haven't read Nancy Pickard's regular series, but think she did a good job with this stand alone book.

Julie P. 1/6/10, 8:20 AM  

I read this one years ago and thought it was very well done. I really enjoyed it. Passed it along to my mom who liked it too!

Serena 1/6/10, 8:57 AM  

A co-worker gave me this book to read, and yet it sits unread.

Margot 1/6/10, 9:43 AM  

The author's name rings a bell but I can't remember what I read of hers that I liked. Sure wished I'd kept notes as you did. I'll have to go through her whole list now to bring back the memory. I'd like to read this one.

bermudaonion 1/6/10, 9:57 AM  

Oh my, that does sound good. I'm wondering what Mitch had to do with the Virgin.

nomadreader 1/6/10, 11:11 AM  

I read this book when it first came out and really enjoyed it. I've meant to read more of her books, but I haven't. I'll have to check if she has more stand alone novels now. Thanks for this recollection!

Beth 1/6/10, 2:03 PM  

This sounds like a very interesting book. Here is my "V" book.

Nise' 1/6/10, 2:37 PM  

I don't mind figuring out some parts if there is still enough to keep my attention.

Amy 1/6/10, 3:31 PM  

i can't stand audio books, but at least the book was good...I love that cover. And what a name! I would die if my parents named me virgin lol:-D

Anonymous,  1/6/10, 4:10 PM  

I used this one today, too, but I haven't read it yet. Glad to see you enjoyed it.

Anonymous,  1/6/10, 4:21 PM  

I read this one a couple of years ago, too...I enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever seen it on anyone's blog, though.

Anonymous,  1/6/10, 8:03 PM  

That sounds good, it's going on my WL!

Thanks for playing!

Kristen 1/6/10, 8:52 PM  

Sounds like an interesting premise.

me again 1/6/10, 9:07 PM  

Adding this to my TBR list!
Here's my V book, if you want to have a peek.

Irene 1/6/10, 10:30 PM  

I just requested this one from the library, thanks for your positive review.

Unknown 1/7/10, 12:46 AM  

The virgin of small plains had a great impact as a book on me...I loved it thoroughly and there are times till now when i remember some part/portions of this beautiful novel. I would strongly recommend it ....I bought it as a recommendation frm one of my friend and though i didn't read the review before placing my order at a1books.co.in, i loved my decision after going through blogs like yours :) :) :)

Michele 1/9/10, 5:35 PM  

I think I'd like to read the "book version" of this one....it sounds fascinating and since I first read your post yesterday, I haven't been able to get the synopsis out of my head. Guess it's time to go book shopping!

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