St. Dale, by Sharyn McCrumb

St_dale_1 This novel tells the tale of the Dale Earnhardt Memorial Pilgrimage, a tour to NASCAR racetracks throughout the south. Many of the people on the tour are mourning Earnhardt’s death, while others are not race fans at all. The tour group includes a couple planning to be married at one of the racetracks, a 12-year-old racing fan on what may well be the last trip of his life, a skeptical lady judge, a priest whose hobby is medieval pilgrimages, and a woman who believes that the helpful stranger who fixed her car one dark night may have been Dale Earnhardt–even though he had died a year before. The story is filled with NASCAR trivia, hints of the supernatural, the forming of bonds among very different people, and–maybe–some miracles. You don’t have to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate this novel–I’m not! If you like Sharyn McCrumb’s fiction, you’ll find this very different from her usual novels, but to me it was her best novel yet!

(Helen Snow, Information Services)

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