It is 1933, in the dustbowl that was to become the American Midwest, a young man leaves his family farm in search of a future. Finding a job as a truck driver come stagehand for a touring religious revival crusade, Michael Boone becomes drawn into a world of hypocrisy and privation that will cause him to grow up much quicker than he could have imagined. In Bruce Joel Brittain’s, Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival we meet an unlikely cast of characters, all with their own tales to tell and all who will have a profound impact on the young boy from Kentucky, as he grows into a man. From the lecherous, borderline paedophile, Brother Daniel, to his partner, the voluptuous Mother Daniel, and the children, Michael will become very worldly, very quickly. With his fellow driver, the enigma that is the highly educated Bert, this motley crew will travel the small towns of the Midwest, bringing their brand of salvation to a population mired in the Great Depression.
As a fan of historical novels, I found Bruce Joel Brittain’s, Brother Daniel’s Good News Revival, a satisfying and revealing read. The characters were so perfectly drawn; one could almost picture the lecherous Brother Daniel and his long-suffering woman, Mother Daniel. Michael, was exactly as you would expect, the wide-eyed boy from rural Kentucky who was suddenly exposed to the hypocrisy of a world he had trouble understanding at first. The star, for me, was Bert, whose worldly knowledge, questioning nature and well-read character was exactly what Michael needed to open his eyes to reality. The writer’s style, straightforward and flowing, was easy to read and drew, perfectly, the picture, for the reader, of a people suffering the great privations of the Depression, who would turn to God and the travelling revival show as a hope for a way out of their poverty and hopelessness. I think the author captured the mood of the country, at that time, so well. This was a great read and one I can highly recommend.