Ruby Crain’s new novel follows the five Montgomery siblings as they grapple with problems of family, love, greed and past trauma.
When Feet of Clay opens, the clan’s matriarch, Lydia, has been dead for some time, and its patriarch, Silas, has just died. The newly orphaned siblings return to the family estate for Silas’ funeral.
Lydia was a loving mother with a strong sense of faith, while Silas was cold and cruel. Clay, the eldest, has followed in his father’s footsteps in the hopes of receiving a sizable inheritance. He is shocked to discover that a previously unknown half-sibling will receive the large amount he had expected. He makes murderous plans to get what he considers rightfully his.
Meanwhile, the other siblings have varying reactions to being back in the family home, grappling with internal struggles between the gentle influence of their mother and the cruel one of their father. The two sisters face memories of lost love, while a brother is haunted by a murder for which he’s been falsely convicted.
Feet of Clay is unabashedly melodramatic. When a character wonders, “What more could happen to this family?” readers will be inclined to agree with him. Near-death experiences, incredible recoveries, reunions of lost lovers, villains meeting fortuitous demises and other dramatic circumstances abound. In fact, each of the aforementioned occurs more than once. Yet this wild ride of a narrative makes for an undeniable page-turner. Crain also skillfully juggles various points of view and artfully portrays the relationships among the siblings.
The book’s main flaw is a lack of line editing. Typographical and usage errors occur throughout, as well as a few truncated sentences and fragments. Crain’s writing style is fluid and vigorous, but these mechanical errors prove tiresome over the course of the novel.
If these errors were corrected, Feet of Clay would offer great appeal to readers of juicy family sagas.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.