Bend by Nancy J HedinBend by Nancy J Hedin is a novel set in the small town of Bend, Minnesota.

Lorraine Tyler lives in Bend, a tiny place that would stifle any teenager, let alone a lesbian one. The local church is avidly against homosexuals and often preaches about how sinful it is. So, when Lorraine has a chance at a scholarship (and her only way out) she fights hard to win it. Her only real competition is her twin sister Becky. When Becky pulls out of the race Lorraine is pretty much guaranteed her ticket out of town. But, she kissed the preacher’s daughter and the scholarship has a tough morality clause.

To make matters even more complicated she meets Charity, a passionate, sexy girl who is also a lesbian and what’s even better is that she seems to like Lorraine.

But when Becky goes missing Lorraine uncovers old secrets. Secrets that could change things forever. 

The Characters

Hedin’s character work is good. Told in the first person, I found Lorraine to be a great narrator for the tale and we can see her transformation through the book.

All the characters stood out and were easy to identify which is a great sign for a cast of several people.

The Writing Style

I enjoyed the read. It was well paced, easy to read and everything kept ticking along nicely. Hedin did a good job at keeping it all clear and maintaining several intertwined storylines while developing characters and adding some delightfully quirky descriptions and dialogue.

The Pros

Hedin was able to capture the oppressiveness of the small town life, the poverty and the sense of family and community really well. The book is a great example of how entertaining a slice of life story can be.

I also loved the complexity of Lorraine’s relationship with her mother and how we saw that relationship develop through the book. 

The Cons

None

The Conclusion

I would classify this as a new adult novel. It’s a coming of age tale with easy to read language and swift pacing. It’s a great read for anyone, though. The themes are pretty universal and I enjoyed this glimpse into small town life. I also loved the conclusion to the book and thought that Hedin did a beautiful job with wrapping it all up so that we got our happy ever after, despite all the drama. 

Excerpt from Bend by Nancy J Hedin

It was early morning on a Saturday, and my momma was waking up God. Since the night before, when Momma answered a phone call, she had been beseeching God as if she had him on retainer like a lawyer or on a leash like a dangerous dog.

I stayed in my room. I would have dressed in camouflage or armor if I had any. I didn’t.

“Lorraine.”

Christ, I cringed every time I heard her call my name. It reminded me of everything I hated about being seventeen years old, still in high school, and living in Bend, Minnesota. Why’d I have to be called such an old-fashioned name? For that matter, why were we living like we were some hicks from the Stone Age: no cell phone, no cable TV, and no internet? I was trapped everywhere I turned.

I went to slip through the window, but before I could get completely out of the house and truthfully say I didn’t hear her, Momma called me into the kitchen. She said I should explain what had possibly necessitated a call from the minister and a Saturday morning meeting about “your daughter.”

“That’s what he said to me, Lorraine: ‘your daughter.’ Who do you suppose he meant?”

“It could be Becky.” I said it, but I didn’t believe it for a damn minute. My twin sister, Becky, wouldn’t be the subject of a serious meeting with Pastor Grind unless somebody wanted to name her a saint, and I doubted the Church of Christ went in for saints. That was more of a Catholic thing.

My momma wasn’t Catholic, but she continued the inquisition anyway.

“What would people think to know I’ve been called in to Pastor Grind’s office? Do you think it’s about the scholarship? So help me God if your sister doesn’t win the McGerber scholarship, I’m going to raise holy hell.” What about me winning the scholarship? That was what I wanted to say, but I didn’t. I was smart enough to win a scholarship and smart enough to know I shouldn’t suggest to my momma that anybody but her Becky would win it. It didn’t matter that I wanted the scholarship. It didn’t matter that I wanted out and needed out— out of reach of Momma; out of Bend, Minnesota; and just plain out.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number:  9781626495517
  • Publisher: Anglerfish Press (a riptide imprint)

Nancy J Hedin Online

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