Sugar Man’s Daughter is an uncompromising atmospheric character study of the nature of modern day greats like Cormac McCarthy, Dennis Lehane and Stephen King, Lucy Crowe‘s debut Sugar Man’s Daughter proves her artistic mettle.
Nicola Thomas has returned to her roots in an attempt to escape her demons, only to find that the old Sugar Inn, her childhood home has its share of ghosts both living and dead that she has to contend with. Sugar Man’s Daughter is rife with undercurrents as dangerous and unexpected as the Illinois River that Nicola swam in as a child.
Upon her homecoming she encounters the mysterious Johnny Santangelo and before long they are involved in an affair, which incites the anger of her philandering ex-boyfriend, the father of the child she miscarried. Nicola is tormented by more than guilt over the loss of a baby she didn’t want and the evidence that someone besides herself has been in the inn often, but also by the specter of a childhood nightmare that may not in fact be the product of the imaginings of a neglected little girl. Are the letters she writes to the now deceased Sugar Man and the attention she lavishes on Benny Jones simply penance for her perceived past wrongs or the actions of a woman making the first attempts to heal and move forward into her new life?
“You’ve got to let him go, honey.”
“I can’t. It hurts too much.”
“It gets better if you let it, Nic. If you quit looking at it all the time.”
“I want to quit, okay? I don’t like to think about my father shooting himself and me too stupid to even do CPR.”
“Hush now, Nic, you know better than this, right? And you know better than ghosts? He’s gone, sugar, and so is that little baby. Votive candles won’t change that.”
Unflinchingly honest in its characterization, the world that Lucy Crowe has created is all too real in its exploration of love, betrayal and the ambiguous space in between. Sugar Man’s Daughter is a thoughtful introspective piece which inspires the same reaction from those who read it you cannot help but love the characters in all their flawed, imperfect glory.
Lucy Crowe divides her time amongst her main loves – family, firefighting and fitting words to life – and occasionally she is astounded by the blending of all three. Her rural home, shared by husband and children, is close enough to Chicago to catch the bright lights, and far enough away to see the stars. Several of her short stories have enjoyed publication under the name C.E. Jones. “Sugar Man’s Daughter” is her first novel.
AUTHOR: Lucy Crowe
RATING: 4 1/2 Stars
GENRE: Literary Fiction
Note – Thank you to the author for providing a copy of their book in exchange for a fair and honest review.