Molly Lee by Andrew Joyce

Published: 29th March 2015Goodreads badge
Self Published
Pages: 317
Format: ebook
Genre: Historical fiction
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

Molly Lee is the sequel to the best-selling novel REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Initially I found it hard to believe and get into, especially since it practically opens with Molly abandoning her family and running after Huck. But as the novel progressed and you see Molly change and grow, you take the story for what it is, instead of trying to mould it to your expectations.

The narration mimics the voice of the south which brings Molly’s background to light, and you see her voice gradually refine itself as she travels more and is exposed to new things, her experiences shaping who she becomes. Being set in the 19th century there are a few phrases and events that help place the novel, with only a few modern phrases standing out. Overall Joyce has done a solid job in capturing the historical feeling while still remaining focused on Molly.

I liked the era it was set in, it was at times very convenient for Molly, but it felt real and it worked. The focus is very much on Molly and her life, but around her there is a brief exploration of the changes America was undergoing at the time, making it feel more historical. Knowing nothing much about the life of settlers in early America it was interesting to see the development of towns and the culture of not just the settlers, but the Native Americans as well.

The story flows easily, once Molly leaves her home she gets caught up in one thing or another which moves the story on. In the beginning it seems like she moves from one drama to the next, but these calm down and the story settles into a stronger narrative. While the continual problems and drama remain, it no longer reads as problematic with better narration to support it. Each new incident is spaced much better time wise for the most part, and they are varied enough from one another and realistic for the environment and era which makes it alright.

With the amount of things that happen to Molly it is interesting to see her reaction. She takes things in her stride most of the time, things fall in her lap and while bad things happen she picks herself up fairly quickly and trudges on. For someone her age and inexperience she accepts changes reasonably well, and she soon learns to listen and make things turn to her advantage.

She is a bright enough girl, she reads like a naïve and love struck child at first with a few smarts but not many, but she seems to know what she is doing, even if her strengths and weaknesses aren’t spelled out for the reader. To understand a lot of who Molly is Joyce makes us read between the lines, her determination and decision to make herself a new woman is what drives her and she makes her life her own.

Joyce paces the narrative well, capturing three decades with the right speed, jumping when necessary and skipping the right amount of time, making it work with the story with style. Having this long time span also allows a great comparison between the Molly who starts and the one who finishes the story. Seeing her life and the person she has become is great, and it is good to see there are still traces of the teenager all those years later.

This is a sequel but it is of little consequence. The story reads well on its own, and the ending can be read as a prelude into a third, but also as a nice ending with possibilities open to readers. Joyce brings the female voice to life and makes Molly’s evolution from a teen to a middle aged woman gracefully and with surprising insight.

You can purchase Molly Lee via the following


Amazon Aust

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Emily Gmitter
    Jun 30, 2015 @ 22:13:53

    Great review of a wonderful novel, thanks! Shared to Facebook.



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