Author: Bill Higgs
Publisher: Tyndale House
Release Date: July 1, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Interesting, insightful, and nostalgic. Bill Higg’s debut novel Eden Hill is a refreshing story!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Tyndale Publishing House for an honest and fair review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Set in 1963, the town of Eden Hill is just another small town in America. All businesses are locally owned and include a grocery store, farm store, and service station. There are three churches that people attend throughout the town and everything seems to be normal, or at least Virgil Osgood believes so. As the owner of Osgoods, the local service station that he built with his father after World War II, Virgil has been blessed to never miss a meal and has a loving wife and son. Then one day his church decides to sell the vacant lot across from his store. Before he knows it, a new sign pops up in the vacant lot advertising that a new Zipco service station will be built to serve the residents of Eden Hill. Now Virgil must decide how to handle this situation. Can he survive completion? And how will the choices he makes affect others?
Cornelius Alexander has been looking for a way to find success. His father and grandfather both run successful businesses and he is out to prove himself. After flunking out of a university and then going to a smaller business school, he was approached by a recruiter from Zipco about opening a new service station. All he has to do is find the right place. After getting lost in Eden Hill, he stumbled upon a run-down service station with a vacant lot across the street that was for sale. What luck! Now Cornelius and his pregnant wife JoAnn have an opportunity to start up this new service station and who wouldn’t want to use his over the one across the street? But it takes a lot of money to get started and he is in serious debt before he knows it. Can he actually make a living at this? Especially if Osgood’s decides to compete?
This is one of those books you read that is just a great story. It doesn’t need a huge plot or some type of event that turns the tide. Granted it has both of those, but it is really just a story about everyday people doing everyday things. Maybe that is why it was so refreshing. I didn’t have to look for anything particular. I just got to be one of the townsfolk.
The story primarily centers around two couples, Virgil and Mavine Osgood as well as Cornelius and JoAnn Alexander. Both couples are at different points in their life and are met with challenges that are similar and yet different. Each has a marital issue. Virgil and Mavine’s centers around the mid-life issues of is the marriage getting worn out? Do they really still love each other? Cornelius and JoAnn’s is the newlywed issue of getting started and the fear of the unknown of if they will have enough money to live. They also end up working against each other because of the completion for business.
The third main character is Reverend Eugene Caudill. This may have been the most interesting character of the book. We often think of pastors as people who don’t have struggles and are often without any type of issues, but more than willing to assist their parishioners with their troubles. However, they struggle just as much, if not more, then what we typically do. I felt like Reverend Caudill was the rawest character in that we really got to see what his life was like. How he felt about some of his congregation. The struggles of his own faith. Everything was laid bare for the reader to see. It really puts a perspective on his character.
I loved the setting of the book. Small town America would have been interesting to see at that time. With the new urbanization times are just different. So having the opportunity to go back and live during this time in this small time was just want I needed at this time.