Snakewoman of Little Egypt, Robert Hellenga, Bloomsbury USA, 2010 340 pp
One of the best things about being a paid reviewer of books is that I find myself reading amazing books I might otherwise have missed. Reading Snakewoman of Little Egypt was such an experience. And I was so ready for something unique compared to what else I had been reading lately. Sometimes a book has all the elements that I feel make it magically good and Robert Hellenga got that combination: strong female character, snakes (!), varieties of spiritual experience, love of course, and information about things I had formerly known nothing about.
My review begins:
"I had not previously read a book by Robert Hellenga, although he has already published five novels, but I was intrigued by the title of his latest. After all, woman's mythical history with snakes stretches back to Genesis and beyond, and I remember reading with great pleasure Marion Zimmer Bradley's Firebrand, in which a snakewoman plays a key role during the Trojan War. But who knew that right now in America we still have fundamentalist Christian sects handling snakes as a method of avoiding hell and reaching heaven?
Sunny, formerly known as Willa Fern Cochrane, was born and raised in the Church of the Burning Bush With Signs Following in southeastern Illinois and married to its most powerful preacher until she got 'backed up on God' and took justice into her own hands..."
You can read the rest of the review at BookBrowse magazine. Better yet, just read the book. It is really that good and my husband liked it as much as I did, so it has been guy-tested.
(Snakewoman of Little Egypt is available in hardcover by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.