Monday, February 10, 2014

The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey

In The Widows of Braxton County, Kate marries Joe Krause and moves to the family farm in Iowa. It's not like she pictured or hoped it would be. For one thing, she didn't know that Joe's mother, Trudy, would be living with them. It didn't help that Trudy didn't like Kate at all. Eventually, she learns of a long kept secret in the Krause family about a death long ago that still has the town gossiping.

I really enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. I really liked the story format. It jumps back and forth between the past (1890) and the present (2012). I thought this was a perfect way to present these two part to the story that were in many ways quite similar. The author was able to reveal little bits and pieces in each, which made it all the more suspenseful.

The problems I had were mainly with Kate. She said she wanted her own life and get away from her grandmother. However, she also said she couldn't wait for her husband to take care of her. That didn't sound right to me, not when it was supposed to be 2012. Also, I wanted to give Kate a shake at her reaction after suffering mental and physical abuse at the hands of Joe. She said it was all her fault for approaching him at the wrong time. *big sigh* Again, that sounds like someone who's terribly naïve or someone who's from a previous time period where women had fewer options.

On the plus side, I really liked Will from the hardware store, and the neighbour, Rose. Both of them were good strong characters. I also liked Hannah, the first widow, from 1890.

The suspense about long kept secret was really good. However, I want there to be more to it. I felt a bit underwhelmed by it all. It wasn't that I didn't like the ending it was just that I wanted something more. It did, however, keep me interested and rapidly turning pages until the very end.

Jess McConkey is also known as Shirley Damsgaard.

This edition of the book contains a P.S. section, which features an article about the author, the story behind the book, a reading group guide, and information on her other books. It's well worth the read.

This is the first book I've read from McConkey. I do, however, have a few of her mysteries on my to-be-read shelf. I had no idea McConkey and Damsgaard were the same person.

Recommended.

For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Jess McConkey's website or Shirley Damsgaard's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at HarperCollins for this review copy.

The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey, William Morrow (HarperCollins), ©2013. ISBN 9780062188267(Trade paperback), 358p.

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