Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

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Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A dark story - which entices you in and delivers a sucker punch - from a master storyteller.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Hutchinson
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0091953676

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Charlie Beale returned from the war in Europe and 1948 found him in Brownsburg, Virginia. He'd been driving around looking for somewhere to settle and all he had with him were two suitcases. One contained an excellent set of butchers' knives - and the other was full of money. Brownsburg seemed like a fine place to stay and before long he had a job with Will Haislett and the Haislett family became his family. He'd never hankered after children but their five-year-old son, Sam found a place in his heart. Life might have been good if it had continued in this vein, but Charlie Beale met Sylvan Glass.

Sylvan was married to Harrison 'Boaty' Glass, the richest man in town but if you were being pedantic you might add that Boaty had bought Sylvan. Her family were hillbillies and Glass, a fat, obnoxious man, acquired Sylvan as part of a deal whereby he purchased the family farm, allowed the family to stay on the land complete with a new tractor and departed with the seventeen year old daughter. Sylvan was a little older than he would have wished, but she suited his purpose. And Sylvan? Well, she discovered the movies, gorgeous clothes - and Charlie Beale.

Heading out to Wonderful is seductive. The writing reels you in and you settle into what looks like a joyful read about America before it got to wanting things. The land was good and the townspeople - or most of the five hundred or so who lived there - were honest and God fearing. It was a good place to be for most of the people. The whites and the blacks weren't integrated, but then that was hardly unusual in the forties. But beware - this is a dark, dark story about obsession and much as people came to love Charlie Beale there would be few in the town who didn't wish that he'd driven right on through.

I loved the book. In the beginning I read with a grin on my face - it was a gorgeous tale of optimism, genuine affection and trust between people who saw no reason to doubt each other and a time when you would happily let your only child go off with a man you didn't really know all that well simply because the man, his dog and the child just loved being together. It was a wonderful story from a master storyteller. Then it delivers a sucker punch and you read on because you simply can't put it down.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

People are going to mention this in the same breath as The Help by Kathryn Stockett - hell, it's there on the cover, but you might also enjoy The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore.

Buy Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick at Amazon.com.


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