About the Book:
You want to walk away from the things that were bad for you and never look back.
That’s what Corinne Callahan wants.
Cast out of the fundamentalist church she was raised in and cut off from her family, Corinne builds a new life for herself. A good one. But she never stops missing the life—and the love— she’s left behind.
It’s Enoch Miller who ruins everything for her. It was always Enoch Miller. She’ll never get him out from under her skin.
Set over fifteen years and told with astonishing intimacy, Rebecca Morrow’s Corinne is the story of a woman who risks everything she’s built for the one man she can never have.
I had zero expectations picking up this book and now that I’ve finished, it’s one of my favorite books so far this year. A chilling yet seemingly accurate description of life in a fundamentalist Christian church, this story both broke my heart at times and at others, had me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t put it down.
Corinne is always the outsider in her mother’s church. Her family is poor and dependent upon the charity of others. Enoch is a shining star in the congregation, certain to be a church leader one day. And Corinne is desperately in love with him. She knows she is not the right kind of Christian for him, and besides, he is already betrothed to the popular girl Shannon.
”Don’t ruin this, Corinne wanted to say. It won’t last forever, and it’s all that I’ve got. And I know. I know, I know. Who I am. Who he is. The score.”
The author seems to know a lot about the hierarchy and politics of a fundamentalist church. Once a member is cast out, no one can speak to them or acknowledge them. This strict judgment seems so unfair and cold. Women especially have a very limited role in church life.
I was completely enthralled by this book. It’s a stunning love story with a Romeo and Juliet aspect. Corinne and Enoch are two very real and humane characters, and I could not look away from their story. I didn’t have much sympathy for their families, though, and the impossible situation that they put Corinne and Enoch in.
”She wouldn’t make this awkward. She’d let him off the hook. Because she liked him. Because he’d spent his whole life on the hook, and he didn’t need Corinne making it worse for him. (A kiss wasn’t strictly good, from Jesus’s perspective, but it wasn’t explicitly bad. Kissing wasn’t the sin; it was just the on-ramp.)”
The second part of the book takes place 13 years after the events of the first part. Corinne and Enoch are adults and the story does become more explicit. I personally loved it and found it very beautiful. They both try to compromise but the ever-present church and its rigid rules looms over them both.
”’I know you think of what we did as a sin and a mistake,’ she said. ‘And maybe we’ll do other things that’ll feel like sin to you. But I’m not a sin. I’m not a temptation. I’m a person. And if you love me, you’ll treat me that way. You’ll treat me like a blessing.’”
Corinne is a fascinating book. Some readers may disagree with its portrayal of fundamentalism but I can’t stop thinking about it. Bravo to Patricia Morrow, whoever you are!
(Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advance copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)