books

Book review: The River Wife

The River Wife(Total disclaimer here: I put this book down about halfway through, but I’m leaving my thoughts for the part I did read.)

The River Wife is one of those books that I both enjoyed, and didn’t. Beginning with the New Madrid earthquake of 1811 in Missouri and ranging through to the bootlegging days of the 1930s, it’s an interwoven story of the fates of multiple women linked together by a shared family history full of hope, sorrow, secrets, and violence. If you’re a fan of historical family sagas or American Gothic meets frontier adventure, then this novel sounds like the perfect pick for a long afternoon curled up in your favorite reading spot.

So, what is it that made me DNF?

Basically, I would blame a simple mismatch of book and reader at this time. The River Wife moves like the river in its pages, slow and steady, lazy and meandering in many parts, with occasional hidden bursts of speed. Agee’s lines unfold in a slow, dreamy fashion that’s perfect if you’re in the mood to savor a slower-paced drama, but I found my attention wandering. I put this aside for now and may return later, but in the meantime I’m going to pick up something with a faster pace and see if that better suits me.

The River Wife, by Jonis Agee (393 pages). 2007. Historical fiction. Three out of five stars.

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