Tuesday, February 15, 2011

After River by Donna Milner

After River
In this debut novel, a nostalgia that is "rich and sweet" belies the lingering bitterness of family tragedy. Natalie Ward is a thrice-married writer forced by the imminent death of her mother to return to the town she left. She recounts her golden childhood growing up on a busy farm "carved out of a narrow mountain valley deep in the Cascade Mountains." But when a handsome Vietnam War resister named River Jordon ambles up the family's dirt road in 1966 and offers his services as a farm hand, this innocent simplicity begins to curdle. This novel combines the Canadian setting and characters, blended with optimism, make it charming and reminiscent of Mark Spragg’s Where Rivers Change Direction in the wholesome farm life but, unfortunately it tries to pack in too much drama and ends up being a bit too syrupy.  Overall though, it was still enjoyable if a bit fluffy in the writing style.

Rating: 3.7 Good

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