When Pope Brock discovered the truth behind the dramatic death of his great-grandfather, Ham Dillon, he travelled to Indiana to discover more about his family’s buried history. This is the extraordinary result.
A sweeping, powerful true story that reads like the best fiction, Indiana Gothic is the tale of two married sisters living in the poor, pious American midwest at the turn of the century. Bored, beautiful Allie falls in love with her sister’s charismatic husband and a reckless affair ensues. Encompassing adultery, scandal and a sensational murder trial, this is a haunting love story that echoes across the generations.
Author: Pope Brock was born in Atlanta, Georgia, raised primarily in Baltimore, and graduated from Harvard University in 1971. After training in New York as an actor, he became a freelance journalist, and has written for the American editions of Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stones, Life and several other magazines. Brock lives in New York, with his wife and has twin girls.
My thoughts: Indiana Gothic is an atmospheric and gripping read. This is a fictional novel based on true events that Brock re-created from a few surviving documents and a lot of imagination. It is the story of a family betrayal (adultery) that led to a murder in rural America of the early 20th century.
Allie and Maggie Thompson are two somewhat rival sisters. When they were young, they promised themselves never to marry farmers. They had a happy childhood in a good family. Allie married her teacher, Link Hale, and founded a family. Maggie married Albert Hamlet Dillon (aka Ham Dillon) and started a family. The two sisters lived far apart and, with time, the desire to get closer to each other, to create strong family ties, becomes stronger. So, Allie and her husband Link move to Elnora in Idaho. Ham, the brother-in-law, offers a teaching position to Link. Ham is pleasant and sophisticated. He is handsome, charismatic, educated and ambitious, qualities to which his sister-in-law, Allie, will soon succumb, the more so since she is locked in a joyless marriage to the depressive Link Hale.
These two are undeniably made for each other. They fall in love and have a passionate and long-lasting affair. All is well until the day the two lovers decide to have a baby. The baby is born sooner than expected, if Link was the father. He is different from his brothers and sisters. In addition, he was to be called Albert Hamlet Dillon (a name suggested by Ham during a family dinner). All of these factors gradually aroused the suspicions of Link, the cheated husband... The countdown to the murder, which takes place eighteen months later, has started...