- Barbara Watkins
Do you like to read about small towns and quirky characters--places where everyone knows everyone else? If so, The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert is the book for you. It has lots of odd characters and follows several simple storylines, one concerning a missing child. Well, perhaps that story is not so simple after all. You see, the missing child may never have existed in the first place. This may give you a hint about Mr. Schaffert's style of writing. He has written a multi-level novel with a complicated plot and subplots.
His novel conveys an overall tone of unease in spite of the wit and humor he has incorporated in his writing. For example, one of the subplots involves the Miranda-and-Desiree children's book series, a rather dark series for children, which is so popular it has to be printed secretly in order to keep the reading public from knowing what the next book will be about.
Mr. Schaffert's affection for his characters is always evident. Who wouldn't love S Myles, best-known as Essie, an 83-old great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter, Tiff? They are members of an interesting family that goes back many generations in their little hometown. Essie has been the obituary writer for the local paper, The Country Paragraph, most of her life. Her grandson, Doc, runs the paper. The story of the missing child, Lenore, becomes the town's biggest news story that Doc has ever covered, and it spreads to nationwide interest, resulting in more attention than the local residents really wanted.
I'm sure you will enjoy following the changes and interactions of this unusual family and their town full of one-of-a-kind characters.