Book Review | Centuries of June
Title: Centuries of June: A Novel
Author: Keith Donohue
So when I wrote my intro for Stacie & said I was hoping to stretch myself as far as genres went, I sure got my wish with Centuries of June by Keith Donahue. I tend to read a lot of religious books and Christian fiction and went straight to a mainstream murder mystery. But not really.
Centuries of June is really 7 smaller stories with one larger story tying them together. The broad story is that of a man who gets up to use the *ahem* facilities in the middle of the night and ends up getting bludgeoned. He doesn’t know who did it and while he is puzzling over the events, a man appears who helps him sort everything out. The “dead man” meets a series of women who all enter said bathroom by trying to kill him. The mystery man facilitates the telling of each woman’s story and provides some levity on things. The stories of the women span several centuries, beginning with Native American’s & ending with the story of his death.
I was really unsure as to what this book would be like, but I really enjoyed it! That being said, I’ll start with what I disliked. Out of 7 stories, only 2-3 had more sexual description in them than I thought necessary. I think he could have finessed the first woman’s story more & nothing would have been lost. Not that any of it was out of the mainstream, but it would have a wider audience without it. I also disliked the wrap-up at the end & it’s implications regarding reincarnation. That being said, as the story went, it fit well.
On to the likes. I thought the concept of the story was original. I’ve never heard of anything like it before–and I’ve read TONS of books. I liked how he picked stories from the centuries and how each woman was wronged but in a different way. I liked the varied backgrounds of each woman, not only in personality but in culture. It was as if he had written several books. Lastly, I liked how he referred to his death in the beginning–not graphic but very matter of fact. It set the tone that Centuries of June would have an artistic or literary bent.
Overall, I would recommend this book. Anyone who likes murder mysteries or books that take place in a historical setting will enjoy Centuries of June. If you are the type who normally reads “clean” books but can skip over things, give Centuries of June a look–there isn’t much to skip/skim and the story was fascinating!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*