As satisfying as Mary Lawsonâ#128;#153;s Crow Lake and as emotionally resonant as Carol Shieldsâ#128;#153; Unless, Donna Milnerâ#128;#153;s After River is a novel not just for reading but for living in, spellbinding in its impeccable plotting, achingly human characters and note-perfect prose. This… More »
As satisfying as Mary Lawsonâ#128;#153;s Crow Lake and as emotionally resonant as Carol Shieldsâ#128;#153; Unless, Donna Milnerâ#128;#153;s After River is a novel not just for reading but for living in, spellbinding in its impeccable plotting, achingly human characters and note-perfect prose. This is also a work that beautifully renders time and place, as an isolated and harsh Canadian geography is wracked by a seismic shift in the moral and social landscape of the late 60s. Before the wise and gentle River came, 15-year-old Natalie Ward believed her world was perfect: her family would always be together, living and working on their small dairy farm carved out in a mountain valley deep in the Cascades of British Columbia. Natalie would always be â#128;#156;my girlâ#128;#157; to Boyer, her gifted older brother, and the pride of Nettie, her beautiful, charismatic mother. After River, things were changed, which Nettie blamed on the encroaching world: the new highway that would connect the town to the Trans-Canada, the closeness of an America engulfed in Vietnam and violence. But it was River, the young American draft dodger who became the Wardâ#128;#153;s hired hand, who changed everything one summer. Thirty-five years later, the family is still shattered in ways that no one could ever have foretold. And now, as her mother lies dying, Natalie must return to the home she has spent most of her life running from, as the familyâ#128;#153;s dark secrets and betrayals threaten to scar a new generation.« Less
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