Jenny Proctor, The House at Rose Creek (Whitney finalist, General)
When aspiring young marketer Kate inherits her late aunt’s house in Rose Creek, she’s touched but also astounded. Though her aunt’s funeral has brought her a little closer to the cousins she was raised with, Kate still feels the effects of their recent estrangement, and she knows her cousins resent their mother’s bequest. And Kate isn’t sure what to do with the house—she has a busy job in Atlanta and can see no life for herself in the sleepy town. But she takes a couple of weeks off work to put her affairs and the house in order, and makes a few discoveries that unsettle her world. First, she meets Andrew, a handsome young architect. Second, she discovers an old journal left by an ancestor in the attic of the house that raises all kinds of religious questions for Kate. And finally, she discovers a legal action against the property that might cost her the house she’s coming increasingly to love.
Proctor does a great job establishing the southern setting of this novel, and I thought she did a great job characterizing Kate. I do agree, though, with the question Shelah raised about the book’s audience. For a primarily Mormon audience, some of the long explanations of the faith Kate begins investigating seem unnecessary; for a non-Mormon audience, they might seem a little didactic. Personally, I enjoyed the other plotlines (particularly the complex relations with her extended family) more than the faith substory.