Sycamore Row: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 2)

Sycamore Row: A Novel (Jake Brigance Book 2)

Posted by jack_miller | Published 9 months ago

With 23768 ratings

By: John Grisham

Purchased At: $35.00

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham returns to the iconic setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill, as Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a controversial trial that exposes a tortured history of racial tension.

“Welcome back, Jake. . . . [Brigance] is one of the most fully developed and engaging characters in all of Grisham’s novels.”—USA Today

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy white man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and defense attorney Jake Brigance into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. 

The second will raises many more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

Don’t miss any of John Grisham’s gripping Jake Brigance novels:
John Grisham's original work was outstanding. He then fell off with less than impressive work - almost like he was rushing to meet a deadline. Case in point, The Associate which ended horribly leaving loose ends all over the place (and I've successfully forgotten the other failures). But with Sycamore Row, it seems Grisham's got his mojo back. It holds your attention by not revealing what 8 year old Ancil saw until the very end and the question that's the elephant in the room all through the book is why Hubbard left all that money to Lettie. About half to 3/4 into the book you start to figure out the why he left it. But not until the end do you realize the significant of why he hung himself. All these things become significant in the end and the book wraps up well. Basically couldn't put it down and am looking forward to JG's next novel. Hope it's not a bust!

- oscar_alvarez

This is a sequel to one of Grisham's best, "A Time to Kill." Not necessarily a prerequisite - this books stands just fine on its own. picking up a few years later, lawyer Jake Brigance and his family still haven't recovered fully from the side-affects of the Hailey trial in the previous book. Once again we have a suspenseful plot with the same theme of whether racism and greed will overwhelm the outcome of a legal battle steeped in 1980's Mississippi. Grisham is definitely an expert story-teller with vivid characters and twists that keep you interested in what 'should' be a tedious and boring lawsuit over a hand-written will. A wonderful blend of comedy, tears, drama, suspense and gut-wrenching angst. Your opinion of the verdict sways back & forth but just when you think the outcome is obvious - guess again!

If you haven't read "A Time to Kill" yet (or watched the movie), you might want to read it first, because it is equally good and this book will be a bit of spoiler.

- sabrina_king

John Grisham’s Book, Sycamore Row: A Novel is a must read. It touches so many old and current topics.
A good trial is when you listen to one of the lawyers and think, “Of course, there’s the truth. He’ll win.” Then you listen to the next lawyer and think exactly the same thing.
The characters are so well drawn that you feel for them all. Some you love and some you hate, but the ending will find you with tears in your eyes.

- hayden_kelly

John Grisham has done it again!

Without question, this book is absolutely phenomenal! I typically don't write reviews; however, I'm compelled to share my opinion. The storyline so rich with vivid details, riveting characters, and humor that I found myself reading it for hours at a time. I laughed, cried, felt sorrow and joy as I read from chapter to the next.

I highly recommend this book as an addition to your personal library.

Thank you John!

- cayden_green

Last novel I read from Mr. Grisham was The Rainmaker. This one was okay, but man it took a long time to get set up. Trial scenes take time, I understand, but it didn’t deliver the way it should have. Big storyline, broad stroke characterizations, and some antics thrown into the equation, but about a quarter of the way in you start seeing people who are getting more in the way of the story and you start to wonder when things will get streamlined. You could read far worse books, I guess, but I was a little disappointed in how little return I got for all the effort. I have great respect for Mr. Grisham and the story he tells is rich, it’s just not my kind of story. Maybe I’m more disappointed by the numerous high star reviews that influenced my purchase. Will be reading another of his books shortly since it helps pass the time on the exercycle.

- brayan_williams

After reading many books by self-published authors, this professionally written and edited novel was a reawakening as to why certain authors have earned the attention and respect of big name publishers. I admire the talent and intelligence of John Grisham to weave an amazing story and write a page-turner with such great ease and finesse. Well done! If you haven't read his work yet, I highly recommend that you do. Although some of his books have been made into movies, as they say, the books are always better.

- danny_brown

I do not think that I have ever read a book as slowly as I did Sycamore Row. I wanted to sink into the time and place that John Grisham was unfolding for me. I wanted to understand the racial nuances that are as important as any individual character in this book. I needed to step away from my current beliefs of political correctness and return to a more turbulent time of 1988 Clayton, Mississippi.

Many of the old characters from A Time to Kill are here, but the setting is different. Jake Brigance is still trying to rebuild his life after the Klan burned down his home and the insurance company has been stalling for three years as to the payoff. What Jake needs is an infusion of cash, what he did not expect was how the suicide and holographic will of a much disliked man was going to change everything.

Money changes people and when Henry Seth Hubbard, a white man, leaves the majority of his estate to his housekeeper Lettie Lang, a black woman, all hell breaks loose as anyone and everyone has an opinion as to why.

As a reader, a personal relationship between the two seemed too obvious and Mr. Grisham is a much better writer than that, so I began to jump to my own conclusions. Of course, I was wrong and the truth behind the largess is stunning. I reread that part twice and I swear I did not breathe either time.

Say what you will about John Grisham, but this man can write a courtroom drama. What unfolds in both the legal arena and the lives of those involved is both stupefying and mesmerizing. The people, the personalities, the humor, it all rings true. Bad choices are made that can derail the whole thing, but when you are fighting for the wishes of one man, a man with a secret that must be told, there is no stopping Jake in his fight for his client.

- landon_cruz

In fictional Ford County, Mississippi, an rich old white man leaves his millions to his black housekeeper and appoints Jake Brigance as his attorney for the inevitable contest by his relatives. My first Grisham, recommended to me by the lawyer who represented the friends of someone I knew against the counterclaims of her two cousins. (I was left only a small memento, not contested, so stood on the fringes.)
I’ve enjoyed this, despite its length (512 pages), over a couple of weeks when I’ve been scared and in pain and would have thrown many books aside. It engrossed me and distracted me in the small hours. My brain isn’t working well, so I’ll simply quote the Guardian review, with which I agree: “A solid courtroom thriller with plenty to say about the long half-life of prejudice in the Deep South... the much-trailed conclusion is powerful.” Yes, I could see it coming, but it still packed a punch.

- tatum_nelson

I found A Time to Kill a really moving and powerful read. When I started Sycamore Row, I wondered if Grisham was going to deliver on the expectations of a sequel to his first ever novel and I am very pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

Whilst Sycamore Row focuses on an entirely different area of law to its predecessor, it was nevertheless intriguing and gripping, particularly the last eight or so chapters. Throughout the whole novel I had two burning questions: why did Seth write the will in the way he did? And what did he and his brother see that 'no person should ever have to see'? Thankfully, these questions are answered by the end of the book, but perhaps not in the way that you might call predictable. Although there is a lot of narrative dedicated to the trial and what each lawyer says, I like this because I can visualise so clearly what is happening, as if I am actually sitting in the public gallery witnessing everything that takes place.

Sycamore Row may be slow but its plot is centered around an intriguing incident that keeps you asking why until the final chapters. I would recommend this novel to those who like a slow-burning legal thriller that surprises you with its conclusion and leaves you satisfied.

- conor_davis

Excellent Grisham book that kept me turning the pages. This story features Jake Brigance being hired to represent a dour business man's will after he commits suicide. The story is based in the deep South where racial prejudice in this book is alive and well and takes the reader through the complexities and sensitivities relating to attitudes to blacks and where whites view themselves in relation to this. There is a battle at hand and an ethical and moral story to be told as well as a few twists and turns along the way. I liked the fact it made me question some things and contemplate what life is like for others - it made me angry at times, amused, sad and also happy. Overall a fantastic book

- odin_ortiz

They say “Where there’s a Will there’s a relative!” Seth Hubbard’s Will is no exception. What is exceptional – and totally unexpected - is the size of the estate, most of which he’d bequeathed to his black servant of three years. Certainly she’d cared for him selflessly in the final months of his terminal illness, but surely there must be more to it than that?

In addition to the anticipated relations, determined to invalidate the Will, whiffs of its potential bring forth from out of the woodwork virtually every lawyer from miles around, all angling for a bite of this irresistible cherry. One would have to be very naïve to imagine that every lawyer was a stickler for legality – you could count on the fingers of one hand those in this litigation who are honourable – but you’d need a lot more hands than that to count those who know no bounds in the dirty tricks to which they are ready to stoop, in order to claim their percentage.

To a Southern USA background, where most issues are reduced to skin colour, our attorneys play their brilliant games of verbal chess – much to my delight. A most intriguing read.

- zaylee_jones

Wow. The longest book I've ever read, or does it just seem like that? Want to know what everybody within 20 miles is thinking? This is the book for you. If there is a plot apart from that set out at the very beginning I don't know what it is. It staggers on for ages and ages, filling you in in enormous detail about everything you don't want to know and that has nothing to do with whatever the plot is. After hours and hours I gave up, not even half way through. So, in short, boring.

- gwen_morris

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