Marcia Mickelson is a friend of mine, and I’ve read three of her novels (two that are published and one that I edited and will hopefully get published). Of the three, this is by far my favorite. Marcia is an LDS fiction writer (thus far at least), but I think this book transcends the genre a little. It does have its smattering of LDS-specific passages, but I think on the whole it’s quite enjoyable for non-LDS readers. It has its problems, of course – it could show more than tell, there are places I’d have loved to see some elaboration, and a few spots of general language tightening – but overall this rises above any issues and makes a very memorable experience. The characters are unique and it’s easy to empathize with them. I know Marcia has told me that a lot of people don’t like Julia, but I thought she was very well-written, the depth of her character is fantastic. I liked her. There is one image in the book that is so vivid for me that it sometimes crosses my mind randomly: an image of Julia curled under the blankets in a motel with her shoes and soaking wet coat still on, hugging her knees. For anyone who has been in a very vulnerable place in their lives – and not necessarily the same vulnerable place – this scene embodies all the feelings associated with that vulnerability. I could feel exactly what Julia felt, even though I’d never experienced her specific situation before. Very well done.
I would recommend this book to anyone, LDS or not. I would also recommend starting it in the morning on a fairly free day, because it’s not the sort of book you want to put down. Most people I know or I’ve heard of who’ve read Reasonable Doubt have stayed up way too late trying to finish it, and that includes me.
Note: Review date is only an approximate of when this book was read/reviewed in 2008.
Note: Originally read in December 2007.