I wanted to like this book a lot because it's written by a local author and is set in this general area, and I tend to appreciate books like that on a different level than books set in an unfamiliar place. However, there were a few things that threw me off.
First, I realize that many authors write religion/spirituality into their novels in order to make the characters accurate to their time or to their personalities, but in this novel the religious aspect just felt actually preachy. I don't know if I got that sense because I'm particularly sensitive to even a hint of religiosity or if other people have picked up on it too. It was minimal and didn't really take away from the story, but it did feel a bit out of place. Again, it could just be my interpretation of things, but I have read other novels in similar settings and I didn't get that feeling then.
The other thing that bothered me was that the male author describes a uniquely female experience in first person. I don't have anything against people writing from the perspective of another gender, but this particular scene was disconcerting perhaps because it was so vivid and violent and I had no way of telling if he drew on someone else's experience and just put it into his words or if, which I think is more likely, he just took what he thought he knew about the experience and embellished. It might have been accurate, but it didn't seem genuine.