After River

Donna Milner, Author Harper $24.95 (342p) ISBN 978-0-06-146299-3
In this debut from Canadian Milner, a nostalgia as \x93rich and sweet as... freshly churned butter\x94 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 in shame at the age of 16. She recounts her golden childhood growing up on a busy farm \x93carved out of a narrow mountain valley deep in the Cascade Mountains.\x94 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. The Ward family quickly falls in love with River, each finding some essential need filled by his gentle personality, but these bonds drag the family deep into tragedy. The frequent evocation of long-past shocking events is used to drive this story, but when those events are finally revealed they seem slightly artificial, and the author relies on clichéd notions of \x93the healing balm of letting go\x94 to imply that in the end, though \x93life is messy... it all comes out in the wash.\x94 Despite these oversimplifications, this novel's solidly crafted settings and characters, blended with optimism, make it a charming if sometimes over-sugary read. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-166542-4
Paperback - 342 pages - 978-0-06-146301-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-166537-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-0-06-166540-0
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4434-0183-8
Hardcover - 342 pages - 978-1-55468-166-2
Hardcover - 4 pages - 978-1-84724-451-2
Hardcover - 342 pages - 978-1-84724-281-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-55468-049-8
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-1-84724-282-2
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-185648-8
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