John Tyler is a simple, God-fearing farmer. Sarah Sheridan is a simple, God-fearing woman. Both are caught up in a tale of disease, cures and ancient rituals that will test their faith and notions of respectability in The Kure by Jaye Frances.
John wakes one morning to find that he has lesions on and around his genitalia. As the lesions worsen and the pain grows, he goes into town to see the doctor. To his deep regret, the only treatment the doctor prescribes is the use of leeches, huge apparently mutant leeches. John is quite reticent to use this treatment and presses the doctor for alternatives, any alternative treatment. After much discussion the doctor pulls out an old book titled KURE and relates a treatment that is morally offensive, as it involves having a virginal girl on her 18th birthday take the offending member into her mouth. As wild as this "kure" seems, John briefly considers it and even postpones his treatment with leeches.
Finding a virginal girl close to her eighteenth birthday is apparently not as hard as one presumes, even in a small town in the mid-1800s. Using local registry records, John finds two girls that are possible candidates, and one is Sarah Sheridan.
Sarah Sheridan lives on a small farm with her father. Not thinking clearly, John heads out to the farm and tries to invent a reason for his visit. He quickly comes to his senses and realizes that he can't ask a respectable woman, especially an innocent, to participate in the kure ritual. Sarah presumes that John has come calling and simply became too flustered to follow through and invents an excuse to go into town together. Will John reveal the true nature of his visit? Will Sarah assist him in his search for a cure?
I had a lot of problems with this story. First, the doctor states that the only people that normally suffer this disease are sailors or people in tropical climates and neither of these descriptions fit John. Second how can a relatively benign ritual involving a form of fellatio cure some type of infectious disease? I can suspend belief with the best of them but I couldn't with the basic premises of this story as it was simply too farfetched to be believable for me. Finally, Sarah is supposed to have lived such a sheltered and protected life but she is quite bold in her thoughts of helping John, who is basically a stranger to her. As I read, all I could think was where in the world was the story going and once it got to the end I could hardly figure out how it got there. The Kure is one story that simply didn't work for me on any level.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."