On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back. To their Mississippi community, the death of well-regarded attorney Richard Pickering is a fascinating scandal. To Cissy’s distraught mother, Caroline, it’s an unforgivable crime. But in Cissy’s troubled mind, killing her father was the only way she knew to save the two people she loves most in the world. For years, Cissy has endured a devil’s bargain with her father, hoping that he would leave her younger sisters alone if she kept his abuse to herself. When that thin trust shattered, she saw no other choice. Janelle Clayton, the family’s matriarch, has kept her distance from her daughter, Caroline–a fact she now regrets–yet she hopes to do right by her granddaughter. Cissy has always been an unusual girl, given to compulsive counting and list-making, but Janelle believes her implicitly. When Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a caring psychiatrist tries to help, yet new revelations drive Cissy to retreat even further from reality. It will fall to Janelle, despite her own failing health, to become Cissy’s advocate and rescuer. And over the course of an unlikely road trip, Janelle and Cissy will confront the truths they’ve hidden from the world and themselves, finding courage, deep-rooted resilience, and a bond tender and tough enough to transform them both.
I read Mandy Mikulencak’s previous novel last year: The Last Suppers and I really enjoyed it. It was a very original novel and I’m glad to say that her new book FORGIVENESS ROAD was also quite unique and I loved it even more. This was a moving, beautiful and delicate book that I would recommend to fans of historical and southern fiction.
The book starts with a bang… literally. When shy and fragile Cissy kills is father, everyone is shocked and can’t understand why this has happened. Soon enough, Cissy begins telling the truth and my heart broke when I realized not everyone believed her. Cissy is then sent to a psychiatric hospital and her life will never be the same.
I don’t want to dive too much into the plot, but let me assure you that this book was a wonderful adventure. It’s sad, beautiful, emotional and, in the end, hopeful. What I loved the most is, of course, the relationship between Cissy and her grandmother Janelle. Janelle was such a fascinating character, I thought their dynamics were unique and depite Janelle’s apparent coldness, she was such a caring person underneath.
This book deals with important themes and topics, some of which are not easy to read about. And although what happens to Cissy in this book is definitely something that we’ve read in other books, I love how Mandy offers a unique perspective and strengthens the relationship between a girl and her grandmother. The road trip part was my favorite and I never knew how the story would end.
In the end, there wasn’t a moment when I was reading FORGIVENESS ROAD when I didn’t feel like I was reading something truly special. This book touched me deeply and had me crying more than once. I know I won’t ever forget it.
Have you read any of Mandy Mikulencak books? Would you be interested in reading this one? 💙