- File Size: 2409 KB
- Print Length: 275 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (January 18, 2017)
- Publication Date: January 18, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N0HL432
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,447 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
A Bend in the Willow Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
By Helen Hogan
In A Bend in the Willow, Susan Clayton-Goldner writes a captivating tale of a strong woman’s devotion to her family and her choking guilt over a mysterious past. Through multiple viewpoints we share the emotions of the three most important characters: Catharine, aka Robin Lee, her husband Ben, and her brother Kyle.
An event when Robin Lee is seven focuses the reader on the child's fear of her drunken father as he shoves her in a trashcan in his helpless rage that another child called her, “dirty junkyard trash.” The Pologue also reveals the courage and resourcefulness of Momma as role model and Robin Lee’s close friendship with older brother Kyle.
The book is really the story of Catharine Henry the sophisticated and dedicated woman who has reinvented herself. An erly disagreement between Catharine and her husband Ben Henry, prominent physician contrasts their up-bringing. Ben would humiliate their five year old to punish him for lifting a toy sheriff’s badge, believing honesty is the most important character quality. Catharine would ”never humiliate my son.” The argument arouses Catharine’s guilt about her past and stimulates reader identity with her while increasing curiosity about her painful past.
In sharp contrast, Chapter Two shows Ben the tender father and thrusts the family into the crisis of their lives. As Ben and five-year-old Mikey head home from a sunset birthday ride, the boy’s horse spooks, stumbles, and throws the child against a tree root. The ensuing hospital visit launches the novel’s life and death struggle, for in the exam of the boy’s concussion doctors find Leukemia, a form resistant to chemotherapy.
Flashbacks show Catharine’s relationship with her family, develop a theme of hard work, and show Kyle’s protectiveness for his little sister. Kyle caught fireflies and put them in a jar for Robin Lee to allay her fear of the dark. When the doctors declare that only a bone marrow transplant will save Mikey who is suffering all the horrors of chemotherapy, Catharine realizes she must revisit her past.
Blood relatives have the best chance of a match. She reveals she had a child who would be nineteen now. Ben cannot hide his shock and sense of betrayal. Catharine tries to contact her son but runs into obstacles. She must try her only other option, her brother Kyle.
Throughout Catharine’s maneuvering, Clayton-Goldner intersperses scenes of Ben with Mikey in his exhaustion after chemo and listlessness in temporary remission. Ben researches Mikey’s disease while the frail child sleeps, holds his hand and reads to him while he’s awake. Ben sacrifices his own dream of being a medical school dean because he cannot stay with his son and do the dean’s work of a university hospital. All the while, he frets over the woman he has loved and trusted who has lived a lie.
Tension builds as Catharine returns to Willowood. Her brother put a gravestone for Robin Lee assuming she died in the fire. The scenes in this setting move from the sweetness and innocence of meeting Kyle’s child LaraLee to the painful flashback of the rape and the fire. Clayton -Goldner shows skill in the violent action remembered and the feelings of guilt and horror blending with the determination of the seventeen year old Robin Lee.
The author understands the importance of smells to emotion and memory, from the smells of the sour buttermilk in the trash can to the smells associated with her father, gasoline and whiskey most prominent.
As early as the Prologue the reader had the information that solves the final danger to Catharine. She had several times feared being charged with murder if she returned. With only one more meeting,she is ready to go home. She and Ben talk, and she packs to meet him and Mikey the next day at St. Jude’s in Memphis.
But Sheriff Preston puts a lot together,and holds Catharine overnight in jail, her only comfort a clean blanket. Catharine remembers he is a good father who has recently lost his daughter. He dashes home to do more searching.
In crafting her ending, Clayton-Goldner satisfies the reader without reliance on maudlin details.
Best Wishes, Helen Check out helenhogan.com for a preview of my newest novel, RIDGECREST RESCUE
It's a common premise that's been presented many times for eons. Susan Clayton-Goldner has successfully given us a story that is fresh, plausible, and gripping. I started it late at night and got far too little. sleep.
A mystery of the agony and the drama that was part of a young girls life.
A mystery that wrapped you up in her world and keeps you so deep in her story that you agonizes with her in the telling.
This writer has done a remarkable job of drawing you in, keeping you there, riding every emotion right to the end....at which point you draw a deep breath of relief ~ and it leaves you wanting more.
Yes, we want more from this author. This is a real page-turner that I will read again...for that is what I do with a really good book.
If you have a moment and want to relax with a great book, grab yourself this book, a cup of tea and enjoy, oh heck and grab some chocolate too, I promise you won't be disapointted!!!
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