Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy

Let Me Die in His Footsteps

Lori Roy

Edgar Award-winner Lori Roy delivers a gripping tale about a young woman's quest to save herself, her family and a small Kentucky town.

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In the spellbinding and suspenseful Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Edgar Award–winner Lori Roy wrests from a Southern town the secrets of two families touched by an evil that has passed between generations.

On a dark Kentucky night in 1952 exactly halfway between her fifteenth and sixteenth birthdays, Annie Holleran crosses into forbidden territory. Everyone knows Hollerans don’t go near Baines, not since Joseph Carl was buried two decades before, but, armed with a silver-handled flashlight, Annie runs through her family’s lavender fields toward the well on the Baines’ place. At the stroke of midnight, she gazes into the water in search of her future. Not finding what she had hoped for, she turns from the well and when the body she sees there in the moonlight is discovered come morning, Annie will have much to explain and a past to account for.

It was 1936, and there were seven Baine boys. That year, Annie’s aunt, Juna Crowley, with her black eyes and her long blond hair, came of age. Before Juna, Joseph Carl had been the best of all the Baine brothers. But then he looked into Juna’s eyes and they made him do things that cost innocent people their lives. Sheriff Irlene Fulkerson saw justice served—or did she? 

As the lavender harvest approaches and she comes of age as Aunt Juna did in her own time, Annie’s dread mounts. Juna will come home now, to finish what she started. If Annie is to save herself, her family, and this small Kentucky town, she must prepare for Juna’s return, and the revelation of what really happened all those years ago

Advance Galley Reviews

This novel is well worth the read. It's entertaining and full of suspense. The book alternates between 1935 and 1952, and untangles the hidden secrets of two generations of the same families in the tobacco fields of Kentucky. Ms. Roy accurately captures the sluggishness of the lives of these characters and their need to hold onto aged superstitions. There is murder, child abuse, rape allegations, lust and a curious custom by which a 15 1/2 year old girl will stare into a well and see the face of the man she will marry. There is an old family feud, and a staged hanging that is loosely modeled after the last public hanging in the United States. I see that reviewers are likening this work to that of Faulkner and I can see the link. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.

Beautifully crafted, superbly imagined and uniquely original, Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy is a great and entertaining read that really soaked me in. The characters are difficult to define as they have the capacity to either terrify you or drive you crazy. It is part thriller and part horror, finely balanced by the creativity of the author, with edge of the seat suspense that will keep you reading to the last last. You can like or dislike this but I'm certain it won't disappoint you. A must read for all horror-thriller lovers.

I loved the suspense of Let Me Die In His Footsteps. The novel's parallel timelines keep you hooked. Both of the novel's main characters live with secrets; these secrets are so big that they tear apart their own families and could tear apart their own hometown. There's an idea, in the South, that sometimes, those secrets are better left unsaid, for the sake of all. However, it's the keeping of the secrets that is the undoing of others. The characterizations are rich- you feel the evil oozing out of the teenaged sociopath onto the pages of the novel, and the despair of the man that makes nothing but bad choices and lives with them every day of his life.

I really liked this book. It kept me interested and on the edge of my seat throughout the whole thing. The changes in when the story took place was a bit challenging, but nothing that would deter me from recommending the book. Overall great story!

I really enjoyed this book and had no clue how it would turn out in the end. I always knew there was more to the story than Juna was telling, but couldn't figure it out. I loved the ending and how everything unfolded. I also liked how it was told from Annie and Sarah's perspectives in two different years. I would love to read more from Lori Roy!

Initially, I had some difficulty with the jumping back-and-forth between 1936 and 1952, but as the story picked up its pace the alternating story between the two eras wasn't as offputting. One of the many things I enjoyed about this story was the parallels seen between Sarah and Juna (sisters in the 1936 storyline) and Annie and Caroline (the sisters in the 1952 storyline). As the story evolves, we begin to learn the story of what happened in 1936 and how it has impacted everyone in 1952. The problems in 1936 begin with the so-called beating and subsequent death of Sarah and Juna's younger brother Dale. Juna accuses Joseph Carl Baines of committing this crime, as well as raping her. Baines is hanged for his crimes and Juna eventually gives birth to Annie. The death in 1952 is that of the elderly Mrs. Baines, Joseph's mother. Unfortunately, her body is discovered by Annie, and this triggers a whole new set of problems for Annie and her family. Was justice done in 1936? Has a crime been committed in 1952? Ms. Roy has crafted a story that involves multiple tragedies and multiple families over a sixteen year period of time. I found the story to be enjoyable and the characters wholly believable. I don't know if I'd classify this as suspense although there is suspense or more of a coming-of-age story mixed with a hint of magical realism due to the "know-how" that Annie is purported to have. I can say that this is a wonderful and at times lyrical story. I'm looking forward to reading more from Ms. Roy in the future.

LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS by Lori Roy This book tells the stories of two families in rural Kentucky who are torn apart by intertwined tragedies and how the prejudices and lies get passed from one generation to the next. The death of a child, a parent losing a child to the gallows (even though the child is an adult) and the birth of a child whose mother disappears are all tough topics they are handled deftly by this author. Roy does an excellent job of portraying rural Kentucky of the 1930s and 1950s without resorting to the stereotypes associated with the area. The alternating timeline was a bit difficult to follow in the beginning but as the story progressed and the characters were revealed more throughout the narrative, the transitions were not as harsh or abrupt. I loved that the story didn't foreshadow or give leading hints but that the ends were fully tied up as to the who if not completely the why. Definitely will look for more from this author in the future.

I really enjoyed the suspense of this book. I took me a little bit to get into the meat of the book, but once I did, it got pretty exciting and inventive. Kind of reminded me of "old wives tales" or sayings you would hear as a kid and believe. I like the old times of this book too. The timelines of the 30's and 50's, a much simpler time. I admit I had a little bit of a hard time following the 2 storylines at first (every other chapter). Overall a good read, with much intrigue.

This was a pretty good book. It had many twists and turns a d I had no idea how it was going to end. The ending was fabulous! The only bad thing was that it was hard to follow the two different stories every other chapter.

"Over and over the girls of Hayden County chant . . . Eyes like coal, she’ll lead you astray . . . How many Baines will die this day? And the ropes swing around..." This haunting story of three young women, two in the 1930's and one in the 1950's, as they live under a curse. They are simple folk, and I don't mean stupid but plain and hardworking, eking out a living. The first family are tobacco farmers and the next one is a lavender farmer. Both tales surround the girl's 15 and 1/2 birthdays, the day, according to legend that if they look in a well they will see whom they will marry. This is an atmospheric novel, which to me means the setting is as important as the characters. You can breathe in the scent of lavender or the fresh banana bread coming out of the oven. I loved this book and was very surprised at the twists and turns in the story. Just when I thought it was solved, one more thing is thrown in that startles and amazes you. My first book by Lori Roy but I plan on reading others and wait for the next one. I received this book through Penguin First to Read program for an honest review.

I'll admit this book was a challenge to me - I would read a major plot point & then think 'wait, how did that happen?' - so I would go back & re-read the chapter again. But I felt Roy's writing was wonderful & spell-binding - after I finished the book I felt invested in the characters. I'm glad I stuck with it!

I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel, and I'm extremely glad I did! I don't want to give away too much, so I will leave it at this, I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!I was at the edge of my seat, couldn't put it down. I couldn't wait to find out what would become of Juna and her family. I love that it goes between generations of families in the same town. I will recommend it to everyone I know!! Very surprised by the ending!

This book surprised me in several different ways. The storyline was good and had a surprise ending. I liked that. The storyline goes back and forth between 1936 and 1952. In 1936 we are following the story of two sisters in KY Juna and Sarah. In 1952, we follow the story of Annie, Juna's daughter being raised by Sarah. There are some parallel's in the story and you have to keep that in mind while reading. The way the story intertwines characters and times is intriguing. My only fault with the book is the setting in KY. I have lived in KY my whole life and this book did not have a KY feel. The character's could well have been from KY, but the overall feel of the community, the interaction of characters, the prose just wasn't KY. Tobacco has always been a bigger crop in KY than lavender, especially back in the time this story is being portrayed. The "know-how" that some of the characters had was interesting and mysterious, but not used as well as it could have been. I would recommend the book as it is a good story, but just think of it in a rural setting somewhere else if you are all familiar with KY. 3 and 1/2 stars from me!

This is the first Lori Roy book I've ever read. And I have to admit, she has successfully grabbed my attention from chapter 1. All the characters are well portrayed and developed, the plot was intriguing. I was very surprised at the end. Over all I enjoyed the read a lot. I'd give it a 4.5.

This book takes place in Kentucky in the early half of the twentieth century. There's a belief in certain people having a gift of "know-how" and superstitious beliefs about good and evil. It's a slow revealing of what happened between the Hollerans and the Baines families. The story goes back and forth between 1936 when Sarah and Juna were teenagers and 1952 when Annie and Carolyn are teenagers. Annie calls Sarah 'mama' but has been told that her Aunt Juna is her real mother. Annie thinks that her Aunt Juna will return someday from where ever shes gone off to. The author portrays life in rural Kentucky in the last century well. The many people in the story convey a sense of what life was like then with the willingness to help each other when necessary but staying away from some because of superstitious fears. The ending was a surprise for me. I didn't see it coming at all. But the details all fall into place in the end making for a powerful story.

This was the first book I have read by author Lori Roy. I thoroughly enjoyed the intrigue and suspense that built as the plot progressed. The story is told from two different perspectives, Sarah's first-person account in 1936 and a third-person account of Annie in 1952 I admit, I was sometimes a bit confused by the two different accounts and would find myself trying to scroll back through pages to figure out in which account a particular event happened or if a person mentioned in one account was the same person mentioned in the other account. The story did draw me in and have me hooked until the end, but I could have done without the unnecessary use of one particular word of profanity that did not serve to set a mood or define a character. Overall, the book was enjoyable and is one that I would definitely recommend to my friends.

Lori Roy has created yet another complex, absorbing novel. This one has two story lines – one taking place in the 1930’s involving two sisters Juna and Sarah and the other taking place in the 1950’s involving Annie and Carolyn. A couple of times I did get a bit confused between the two story lines, since there are many characters who appear in both time frames. And it did slow down a bit in certain parts. I think that would have been avoided if I had a block of time where I could just read right through it rather than putting it down and picking it up again throughout the week. But I still think it’s a winner and well worth reading. This author always writes such believable true-to-life characters that just jump off the page right into your heart. The tragic events of the past bleed into the lives of the future generations of these families. As always in Ms. Roy’s books, the suspenseful climax left me shocked by the revelation of what had actually occurred all those years ago. I never saw it coming. Very suspenseful and atmospheric. I loved the “know-how” that a few of these characters possessed, such as seeing your future husband at the bottom of a well on a certain day in your life and premonitions and superstitions, which added so much to the eerie sense this book creates. Against the darkness of human nature depicted is the beauty of the lavender that is grown on this Kentucky farm. It’s a wonderful Appalachian tale of feuding, revenge and legends with the mysticism integral to that type of story. This author continues to get better and better with each of her novels and this is her best yet. I was given this book by First to Read in return for an honest review.

This is a book from the past century. There are many characters in this book but my favourite is Sarah. Sarah is a young girl from a small town who takes care of her siblings like her own children. Gradually as the story continues there are so many incidents that take place and the failure of law and justice in a small town is beautifully written. Read the book to experience a totally different era.

The sign of a good book is that it keeps you hooked up till the end. Let Me Die In His Footsteps is one of them. I really liked the story and the way its written. The author has tried to re create one of the most important moment of injustice from the past. Its interesting as well as compelling and highly recommended.

Lori Roy became one of my favorite go-to authors after I read Bent Road. That book had me hooked from the first page. While this is a good sign of a great book, what really had me was the way Lori Roy tells a story and makes you think and feel as if you are a character in her story. I have to say that she has done it again! This book is perfect - if you like drama and mysteries and a little bit of unreliable narration. (These are a few things that make reading fun in my opinion). This story follows two families in a small town and the impact that their history has on the members of these families. I don't want to say much more because I don't want to give anything away. Read this book - and all of her others, they are highly recommended.

While it's tempting to label this a coming of age story, this is really more of the rural flip side of contemporary urban mythology. These are the 'legends' that have generational family feuds, psychic foretelling of terrible outcomes, unknown parentage of transcendent characters and unsolved murders that plague small communities. Typically these stories involve small towns, unreliable narrators and bad authority figures. So, how well does this book fare within this genre? It is fast, taut and keeps the reader guessing more often than not.


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