The River Widowby Published 01 Dec 2018
|The River Widow.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
From the bestselling author of The Whiskey Sea comes a stirring novel of a young woman’s survival and liberation during the Great Depression.
In 1937, with flood waters approaching, Adah Branch accidentally kills her abusive husband, Lester, and surrenders his body to the raging river, only to be swept away herself.
So begins her story of survival, return to civilization, defense against accusations of murder, and the fight to save herself and her stepdaughter, Daisy, from the clutches of her husband’s notoriously cruel family, who have their sights set on revenge for Lester’s death. Essentially trapped, Adah must plan an escape.
But when she develops feelings for the one person essential to her plan’s success, she faces a painful choice: Will she choose to risk everything saving Daisy or take the new life offered by a loving man?
The River Widow Reviews
Tarot card reader, Adah, chooses a better life for herself with Les, a widowed rancher with a young daughter Daisy to raise. Too bad that it didn't turn out that way-- her husband was a mean, abusive cuss, who beat her. When the floods came he flew into a rage because she brought their daughter's doll when they escaped-- Adah fought back with a nearby shovel-- that changed everything in her life. She hit him and he died-- This is not a spoiler, since it is revealed on the back cover! What unfolds is Adah's struggle with his suspicious family, the police, and a handsome stranger who offers her something she's never had-- security and love. But the discovery of Les's dead wife's letters brings Adah the key to a brighter future, which come with an impossible choice.
River Widow is a great mystery, adventure, and beautiful love story.
This book had a lot of promise, but it fell flat for me. The characters were all confused. Their character traits and original personalities were abandoned to fit the narrative of the story. The author left nothing to the imagination, spelling out every detail, including Adah's every inner thought--which all happened to be in the form of questions, for some reason. What was up with that? There were literally paragraphs full of obvious questions that were bouncing around Adah's head. Those series of questions were the most annoying part of the entire book for me. Implausible plans were hatched and abandoned throughout the book, ignoring obvious simple solutions to Adah's situation. Instead of having some of the characters provide input to their actions, we had to suffer through Adah's wild assumptions. And I'm sorry, but Jack's statements of Adah's beauty ("your hair is chocolate", "your neck is white cake" ?? What was that supposed to be? Certainly not romantic!) The whole plot about the title of the farm transferring to Buck was a lazy (and unlikely) way of dismissing that part of the story. This was one of those books that I just wanted to finish so I could end the misery. I would not recommend this book.
The River Widow by Ann Howard Creel is a book I was interested to read. Spoilers follow
Ann Howard Creel writes a beautiful descriptive narrative, so pointed that I could feel the cold and rain. I felt the anguish of losing a cherished quilt, and the desperation of fighting through a flood, finding dubious safety, and waiting for rescue.
I liked that Adah Branch started as an intelligent woman making her way through unfortunate circumstances during the depression, with an attitude of looking forward to the future, while remembering her sad past. She acknowledged the tragedies of her childhood, but she took strength in focusing on the people who helped her and shaped her character. I love that we have a strong female character who doesn't need rescuing, not really, except when she actually DOES... after the flood and she's stranded on the roof of a barn. She is careful, considerate, smart, and a little lucky sometimes.
After the flood, and her husband's death, she is taken in by her in-laws, the EVIL BRANCHES, who apparently run their own four person mafia in the town of Paducah, Kentucky. These people are evil incarnate, and we never learn why.
Mabel and her husband, whose name I cannot remember at all, are cruel vicious people, with no regard for anyone, except family...oh, and their granddaughter Daisy, who somehow doesn't qualify. They are blamed for their younger son, Lester's, tendency to abuse his wife and daughter. Their older son, Jesse, dirty and unkempt, is just as vile and vicious, yet hasn't married. The Branches are notorious for taking revenge for the slightest offense, cheating partners out of business deals, and generally being THE WORST people ever. Everyone hates them so much in this small town that only two people bring casseroles when Lester is killed "in the flood".
Adah is forced to move in with her step-daughter, Daisy, and becomes a virtual slave, except she can't help in the kitchen. (??? This is where I started wondering)
Creel tells this story with crisp inner monologue, in the form of Adah mulling over and wondering about anything and everything, but lying low, because she has nowhere else to go. The questions. I began to wonder just what percentage of sentences were questions...then I realized, they all are. But they are never addressed or answered. We have no idea just why the Branches hate their granddaughter, or why they are so cruel, or why they get away with it time and time and time again, even though everyone knows.
Then we meet Jack. Love interest. Her neck is cake, and he wants to sop her up like a biscuit. Not the worst love dialogue written in 2018 at all, but we don't really get to understand him well either, beyond the fact of his existence, and desire for cake.
Adah begins to form a plan for escape, but then Jack proposes, then she does escape, deciding that she has to rescue Daisy, the daughter she has grown to love dearly, leaving Jack behind for reasons unknown. Why couldn't he follow? Was his foot nailed to the floor?
In the end, Adah and Daisy are headed for a new life in California, leaving everything behind. We never discover any possible repercussions to her actions.
I felt unsatisfied at the story untold, but I did appreciate a woman not afraid to struggle to do what she knew was right for herself.
It was between 3 stars and 4 stars. Few reasons for 3 stars:
-) with the main character background it seems odd that she would be so in shock of her in-law's behavior.
“The River Widow” by Ann Howard Creel is about a woman during the depression era living with an abusive husband and his very young daughter. A flood of biblical proportions changes the direction of Adah’s life drastically as her life becomes a living nightmare when she desperately tries to save her life and that Of her step daughter’s. Also, this book illustrates what abuse can look like and how far women have come as far as legal rights and protections.