- File Size: 3016 KB
- Print Length: 263 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: #277,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.99|
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A Bend in the Willow Kindle Edition
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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
Michael is only five years old but is dying and needs a bone marrow transplant. Catherine tries to contact her older brother, Kyle, but he doesn’t believe she is alive. He even paid for a gravestone for her, believing she died in a fire.
Will Ben and Catherine find a way to live authentic lives? Will Catherine find a way to communicate with her brother after all these years of silence? What will happen to Catherine when the truth comes out?
I highly recommend this wonderful family saga. The emotion in the author’s writing and all the sensory associations are excellent.
A Bend In The Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner. Published by TIRGEARR Publishing. I would like to thank the author and publisher for my complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my own voluntary unbiased opinion.
Life is hard. No one knows that better than the main character, Robin Lee Carter. She is a young girl in the 1950’s. Her home is in a small town named Wildwood, Kentucky. She endures many different types of abuse. The family struggles financially to get by. Robin Lee’s mom, who is her rock, makes it paramount that daughter will have what she needs to have a wonderful life as an adult. Eventually her moms dreams for her come true. A new state. A new name. Her past life and present life collide when her little boy is fighting for his life
All of the characters are well developed. The plot is original. It moves quickly using flashbacks when necessary. This is an involved story which is easy to follow
I love this novel. Once I started it I just wanted to read the entire book straight threw but life gets in the way. A true page turner.
My other problem came with the use of vernacular for the time periods (1965 and 1985). One example off the top of my head is Wayne's use of the phrase "being bummed" about something. Not in 1965. Maybe in 1975. This is only one of several instances that popped out. I wish the author had researched this more completely, as she did such a thorough job with all her other research, not an easy feat for these time periods.
The bottom line, though, is that the story is haunting and heartbreaking. I can't imagine going through what the main character suffered and coming out the other side a whole and healthy person.
Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another book from this author.
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.