The Testament (1999) by John Grisham is another outstanding read by the author.
The story follows a well-used plot of a rich man Troy Phelan dying and the legal wrangles and drama that follow with his will when family members and employees don’t get what they feel they are due. But it is Grisham’s richly fleshed out writing which really makes this plot fresh, new and very interesting. The book which is a long enough read becomes a real page turner which each chapter as we get to know all the players involved in the game of greed for money. Grisham also brings many topics and issues into the plot, weaving them very seamlessly in, like mental health, suicide, alcoholism, viruses and religion. This book becomes more than a book about a rich man’s will and becomes a book about life and the realities of it. We see the greed of the family and employees but also the greed of the lawyers and psychiatrists as the book unfolds. Everyone seems out to gain something by any means.
The book then shows the other side of this when Nate O’Riley is sent to Brazil to find Rachel Lane or Rachel Porter as she is now known. Rachel is a missionary who is Troy’s illegitimate daughter and he has left his eleven billion dollars solely to her. But when Nate meets Rachel, he soon realizes that she is content in her way of life in Brazil where she is a missionary and doctor and lives a quiet life of prayer. She doesn’t wish to have the money or change her way of life. She has an impact on Nate in more ways than one and a romantic emotion simmers between them but never goes any further. But she helps him find a peace through religion that he hasn’t found in his life so far and it stays with him.
I very much enjoyed the book. I just love how Grisham gets to the heart of why each character is the way they are, writes so crisply and to the point and always delves into issues with his writing. The part about the cow was heartbreaking though and has ensured that I remember Vaca is Portuguese for cow! The ending is also heartbreaking but very touching too.
All round a great read.
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