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Sycamore Row

Posted on: December 19, 2013

Sycamore RowName: Sycamore Row

Author:  John Grisham

Genre : Legal thriller

Pages : 400+

Publication Year: October 22, 2013

Is Review Spoiler: No

 Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)


Sycamore Row is a sequel to a best selling novel ‘A Time to Kill‘ from acclaimed author ‘John Grisham’ . A Time to Kill was the first novel from John Grisham which was published way back in 1989. You can find the review of ‘A Time to Kill’ – here.

The plot in Sycamore Row – revolves around a white man named Seth Hubbard, who is dying due to lung cancer and doctors have given him one months time and who is also filthy rich. Set Hubbard writes a  holographic will which invalidates the will which was previously prepared by big law firm in Tulpedo – in which he has distributed his wealth between his tow children – Ramona and Herschel.

Now in newly created holographic will he gives away 90% his wealth to his black maid – Lettie Lang, 5% to church and 5% to his brother Ancil Hubbard – whose whereabouts no one knows. We know the Ford County from A Time to Kill – which has many people who still believe racism, Klan and white supremacy kind of things which people used to do in 70’s and 80’s.

Grisham hasn’t visited his most famous character Jake Brigance for almost  24 years, now after 24 years Jake is back in action again who by now feels like very old friend from ancient time. Here we also meet the most funniest lawyer Harry Rex and Jake’s mentor Lucien. Like other Grisham novels, this novel too has many twist and turn to keep the reader hooked till the end.

Twist here involves the suicide of the wealthy white man ‘Set Hubbard’ – who before hanging himself on a sycamore tree writes a holographic will in which he gives 90% his wealth to the black maid ‘Lettie Lang’. Very next day after his suicide Jake receives an envelope containing a hand written will and a letter addressed to Jake – in which Seth instruct Jake to defend his holographic will at all costs. He writes in a letter to Jake saying “These are not nice people and they will fight, so get ready,” he warns. “Fight them, Mr. Brigance, to the bitter end.”

Jake has to defend this holographic will created by Seth who is in lot of pain due to lung cancer and hanged himself, Jake has to defend this will at all costs as instructed by Seth himself. The dilemma now Jake facing is – he knows for sure that this will be contested by Ramona and Herschel and it will be trial by jury.  If Jake wins the case – then Lettie will become the riches black person in Ford County – but the Ford County of 1988 which is kind of racist is not about let it happen. Jake has to do something and that something has to be more than what he has done in Carl Lee trial three years ago.

All of a sudden a quiet, racist, Ford County is in news again and again for same contextual reasons – a fight between black and white. All top white lawyers are now in Ford County to represent Ramona and Herschel  and most famous black lawyer – who is most hated by white folks is in to represent Lettie Lang and Ford County is all set for one more big fight.

Jake knows that one bad move by him or Lattie Lang will destroy the case – now the coming of the black lawyer ‘Booker Sistrunk’ changes the game because he is the most hated lawyer by white folks and Ford County has majority of white folks and there is 90% chances that jury for this trial will be  ‘all white’ – in situations like this and in 1988’s Ford County bringing in ‘Booker Sistrunk’ will result in huge damages to the trial. Jake has to find a way to get rid of this guy and he has to find it quicker!

In this first novel – A Time to Kill, the beginning was most disturbing and heartbreaking when Tonya -Carl Lee’s daughter was brutally raped and beaten by two white racist red necks and in Sycamore Row the ending is most disturbing and heartbreaking when everyone come to know the actual reason ‘why Seth Hubbard has  given all his wealth to black maid Lettie Lang’.

As usual character development and the twist and turns and plot development is just awesome. Grisham know how to tell a story which will captivate the reader till the end and leaves him wanting more.


2 Responses to "Sycamore Row"

A sequel to A Time to Kill? I haven’t read Grisham in a long, long time but I have to read this! A Time to Kill is one of my favourite books. I’m glad I stumbled onto your blog, thanks for the review. 🙂

Yes, A sequel to A Time to Kill, a very well written book with good plot line. I think you will like it. Glad you liked my reviews 🙂

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