Sycamore Row by John Grisham
(Doubleday, 2013, 447 pages)
Sycamore Row by John Grisham reintroduces the reader to the fictional lawyer, Jake Brigance, from his first novel, A Time to Kill. The story takes place in Clanton, Mississippi in 1988, three years after Jake won the case of Carl Lee Hailey. In Sycamore Row, Jake is asked to be the attorney for the estate of Seth Hubbard, a man who had committed suicide by hanging himself from a Sycamore tree. Seth Hubbard was a man dying of a painful kind of cancer who left a handwritten will voiding all other wills and leaving 90 percent of his multimillion dollar estate to his black housekeeper of three years, Lettie Lang. Seth leaves the rest of the estate to his church and his missing brother, Ancil, completely cutting his children and grandchildren out of the will.
Sycamore Row portrays the courtroom battle to uphold the last will and testament of Seth Hubbard. It is Jake Brigance and Lettie Lang versus the two grown children of Seth Hubbard, Seth’s grandchildren, and various lawyers for Seth’s relatives. The big question is why would Seth leave most of his fortune to his housekeeper. Seth had no great love for his children or grandchildren, but he had only known Lettie for three years.
There are some horrifying sections in this book. However, they are very meaningful and relatively short. Despite being horrified, I really enjoyed this book. It keeps you guessing. It reintroduces readers of A Time to Kill to old friends. And Grisham returns to the courtroom where his writing career began.