For Only a Season by Charles Butts

For Only A Season is a book about a man named Scooter who returns home to his family’s farm five years after losing this wife and child in an accident.  He is still healing from the experience but ready to begin dating again and focused on returning to his family’s business as morticians as well as a wine venture he is beginning.  His grandma and uncle run the farm currently and he learns about his family history from them in order to become head of the family and carry on the traditions and legacy of his family.  He also rediscovers love and works to build his own branch of the family tree.

This book reminded me of reading L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables although with less hilarious excursions because I could never quite figure out where the plot was going but it’s a relaxing and has a historical, country feel to it.  If you are looking for a book with a distinct plotline I don’t believe this is the one but it’s a good read and has an interesting story to tell and because I enjoy that kind of book I found this one enjoyable although at times I felt a little frustrated with not knowing where the plot was going.  I questioned whether it was a romance at times and I also questioned who the main character was at times.  While Scooter is the narrator and we follow his life, Uncle Clement seems to be involved with majority of the action and what moves the book forward.

The writing itself was very descriptive and well researched however the dialogue was stagnant and stiff.  By the end of the book I felt the characters spent too much time repeating previous conversations and the reactions to events were overlooked.  I’m not quite sure what Scooter was supposed to do with his gift where he could see people who had already passed on and it doesn’t feel like he achieved using that gift in the last chapter of the book even though things turned out well for him so I’m not sure the interactions between him and his past relatives were about regarding him using his gift and walking both worlds.  I’m also not 100% sure there’s really Christian themes in the book although it does discuss spiritual things.  God is mentioned but the relatives who pass on don’t bring up Biblical views and there is premarital sex in the book.

The story was still an interesting one to read and I enjoyed hearing it.  Finding out how this family came to be and what their history was intriguing especially learning about how the family originated with slavery.  I really enjoyed the parts where Scooter gets to examine his family’s heirlooms and writings as I think that would be fascinating to do.  While the love story felt a little too picture perfect to be real it was still very sweet.  Lastly, the scenes of Uncle Clement’s funeral really illustrated something younger generations aren’t familiar with that I think they would find interesting to read and older generations would identify with.  I particularly enjoyed reading about how this culture celebrated the life of someone who had passed.  I also though the epilogue in the form of the letter was clever at the end.

I have to give this book a neutral review overall.  The dialogue was just so off to me it was hard to really enjoy the book because the natural flow and reactions of people were lacking and because the plot line just terribly confused me since it became hazy about who the main character was here…I think by the end Uncle Clement felt more like the main character than Scooter and that felt wrong to me.  However, it was a peaceful little read and if you enjoy country/ancestry type reads this would be worth checking out.Fo

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