My review of At the End of the Line by Kathryn Longino for The Kindle Book Review

NOTE: The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.

In this cinematic novel of the ’50s and ’60s, Beanie, a teenage Mormon girl, is sold into plural marriage by her parents. Desperate, she tries to make a long-distance call to the only person she knows outside the hell of Utah. It’s a wrong number. Instead, she reaches an aristocratic Boston lady who has been chafing at the confines of her manicured life. The lady hears the panic in her voice, responds with concern and with kindness – and their years-long story begins.

The beginning of the novel is suspenseful, heartrending, difficult to turn away from. The main characters, Beanie and Adeline, are well-drawn and appealing, although Adeline is the only one who is complicated and occasionally unlikable. Beanie’s evolution into a civil rights worker is too quickly done, especially for a girl who would have been taught all her life that African-Americans were lesser beings in God’s sight. The ending twist is too neat by half; life is never wrapped up so neatly – and yet there was a great deal of potential in it.

This book is a quick, gripping read that would make a fine movie, if it avoided making Nice White Ladies of Beanie and Adeline. I would give it 3.85 stars if I could.