As I posted on Amazon earlier:
Amazing Amy Lynn will steal your heart, restore your faith
How do I write an adequate review for such an incredible book? Amy Lynn drew me into her tragic, faith-filled, family-loving, patriotic Southern world from the very first page and I couldn’t stop reading until the very end. And even then I found myself wanting more. Because not only is Amy Lynn bursting with rich, multi-layered characters, it’s also a testament to the conquering power of love, resilience, self-reliance, inner strength, moral clarity and unwavering belief in God.
When we meet first meet Amy Lynn, we discover a character who at the tender age of 12 has already experienced enough life-altering tragedy to force her into an early emotional maturity and sobering sense of personal responsibility. This young girl has determined she cannot afford the luxury of self-pity and a carefree childhood. Instead, she busies herself with the back-breaking but necessary mundane chores demanded by her rural Alabama farm. Throughout the course of the novel, author Jack July brilliantly guides his main character through unspeakable, horrific events balanced out by a cast of interesting, sympathetic characters who impact her life in different ways.
One of the many things July excels at is character development. It’s almost as if Amy Lynn is a novel within several novels because at perfect points along the narrative he delves into the background of various players, bringing them to vivid life and providing the reader with a full understanding of their motivations and belief systems. In fact, the book features so many admirable and intriguing characters, it’s hard to select a favorite, much as I adore Amy Lynn. From Uncle Jack and Carla Jo to Leon and Matt, the book abounds with genuine heroes — presented with gritty realism tempered by steadfast faith and a passion for justice. There are also a few repulsive villains who receive swift retribution in the little southern town of Black Oak, Alabama.
It’s a testament to Jack July’s writing skills that I was fully drawn in by the slower pace and appealing simplicity of Amy’s hometown where things like basic courtesy, neighborly assistance and an ingrained sense of right and wrong still hold dominion. Yes, there are plenty of amoral thugs lurking in the woods but their crimes do not go unpunished. Simply put, in Black Oak Alabama, evil is boldly confronted without handwringing over the root causes of the evil-doer’s crimes.
In this coming of age tale, Amy learns about life from many qualified mentors. Although dramatically different in scope, the practical wisdom imparted by both Carla Jo and Uncle Jack is borne of hard-earned experience. From her monthly excursions to the hair salon and shopping mall with Carla Jo, Amy discovers the real definition of being a lady, the simple pleasures of femininity and the traits to look for in true friends. From her regular training with Uncle Jack, she develops the skills she needs to defend herself and assess potentially dangerous situations. Thanks in part to these influences, by the end of the book Amy Lynn becomes a living, breathing embodiment of a truly liberated female — one who can simultaneously play the belle of the ball and the brutal defender of the innocent. In short, she’s an intrepid overcomer — a refreshing change of pace from the whiny, self-absorbed characters so prevalent in today’s pop culture — who will steal your heart and restore your faith in humanity.
It’s hard to delve into too much detail without giving away spoilers but if you’re looking for a compelling read where good triumphs over evil and victory emerges out of tragedy, pick up a copy of Amy Lynn today. It truly is a great American novel that ought to be required reading in every high school. I can’t wait to read more from author Jack July!
On March 18, I interviewed Jack on Writestream Tuesday. If you missed it, click below.