Mary of Bellingham is a tale as old as time with a twist in a Jerry Springer age. There is Mary, the pregnant teenager who ambles into a town called Bellingham. There she is befriended by Joe, an African-American man who does his best to protect and help her. Then Violet, the local hash slinger, lets Mary move in with her - partly out of the goodness of her heart and partly out of the emptiness of her own family-less life. Next is Doctor Bob (with an impending birth, there has to be a doctor, right?). The cast of characters would not be complete without the ultimate huckster: the jock-turned-businessman Ted, who wants to be Maryís (get this) manager; I told you it had a Jerry Springer twist. I suppose it makes sense, after all, a real live virgin birth would need the proper management to get the right exposure nowadays. So there you have it: half the town wants to see a miracle and the other half wants to profit from it somehow. Ainít life grand?
It is hard to believe that this is Anneke Campbellís first novel. The creativity of the premise, the strength of the plot and the ability to maintain it throughout the book are hallmarks of a veteran. She makes eloquent use of dialogue and does an excellent job switching from one character's perspective to another, something most writers are not able to do in their first novel. The pacing flows nicely, and the story is easy to follow.
Mary of Bellingham is a fresh and delightful first novel from a promising author. Read this book. You will not be disappointed.