NORMAN — Book Name: Eternity (2013, Beachhouse Books)
Author: Sandra McMahan
Why you should read: “Eternity” has everything readers want in a summer novel: mystery, romance, conflict and obsession.
Set in Oklahoma City, Marty Scott is a local reporter who encounters Eternity, a church remodeled into a dance club that is much more than it seems. Marty becomes overwhelmed with fear, obsession, guilt and love as she learns about the mysterious family who owns it.
Marty’s naturally inquisitive nature to find out more takes her inside the cult-like family wanting the scoop on a major sex trafficking ring. Instead, she finds herself marrying into the family and raising one of their own. Much of the novel alludes to religious wars between the “Eternalists” and those who value immortality through Christianity; no mention is made of other religious beliefs.
Those who want eternal life are brought into the family through referrals and allowed to stay in as long as the timeless drugs flow. Marty’s fixation on her new family continues and the novel follows the upbringing of a child who will become the family’s next god. The novel spans more than 20 years as these religious wars unfold and Marty’s son learns the ways of his grandfather.
The novel only briefly highlights Oklahoma City’s neighborhoods and communities, making it difficult for the reader to get a sense of place and time. Other shortcomings of this novel are the obvious grammatical errors that are numerous throughout. There is also a lack of character development. Many neglected minor characters could have added depth to the novel but instead they are left underdeveloped, leaving much to wonder about their future and fortunes.
“Eternity” is a short, easy read and would be great to take while traveling or while in transit.
This is the debut fictional novel for Sandra McMahan, an Oklahoma writer, who has written several short stories and is currently working on her second novel, a semi-autobiographical book titled, “Home.”