Nubian Circle Book Club

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Gonna Lay Down My Burdens Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Gonna Lay Down My Burdens is a great drama that opens strong and keeps the reader hooked until the very last page.  We are introduced to the story's central character, Carmen Taylor, on her wedding day when she has an eerie, apprehensive moment prior to receiving an urgent telephone call from her maid of honor, Desiree.  Desiree, Carmen's best friend and drama queen, is having yet another domestic episode with live-in policeman boyfriend, Chester, and frantically asks Carmen to come rescue her.  When she arrives, a scuffle ensues and Carmen delivers a fatal blow to Chester's head. 

As they flee to escape capture for the murder of a cop, Carmen relives her life in a series of flashbacks where we meet the primary characters of Chester, Burl (Carmen's fiancÚ), Desiree and many other funny, interesting townsfolk of Belle Helene, Alabama.  Monroe skillfully allows us to experience the development of friendships, meet the town's dysfunctional families, and witness childhood crushes evolve into adult romances. As the story progresses, we clearly understand how the strong-willed Carmen with the big heart ultimately becomes so heavily burdened by guilt and shame to the point that she neglects her own happiness and nearly self destructs.

I think this book will fare well simply because it is a good story that is told very well.  Monroe's writing style is easy to follow and the book exhibits solid pacing.  With this being her third novel, I can say Monroe has earned a place on my favorite author list. 

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Gonna Lay Down My Burdens is 4 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address: NubianCircleClub@aol.com. 


2/14/2003