Friday, December 14, 2018

"The River Widow"

Ann Howard Creel writes historical novels about strong female characters facing seemingly impossible obstacles and having to make life-changing decisions. In her new novel, The River Widow, a former tarot-card reader turned widow and stepmother must escape the clutches of an evil family while also facing the crime she herself has committed.

Creel applied the Page 69 Test to The River Widow and reported the following:
The River Widow is historical fiction at its core, but the book has been described by many as a page-turner and thriller:
In 1937 with flood waters approaching, Adah Branch accidentally kills her abusive husband, Lester, and surrenders his body to the raging river, only to be swept away herself.

So begins her story of survival, return to civilization, defense against accusations of murder, and the fight to save herself and her step-daughter, Daisy, from the clutches of her husband’s notoriously cruel family, who have their sights set on revenge for Lester’s death. Essentially trapped, Adah must plan an escape.
Applying the page 69 test to the novel takes us to the day Adah returns to her flood-damaged house. Already she has survived the river, made her way back, endured living with her in-laws who suspect her of murder, and witnessed enough cruelty to know she must get away and take Daisy, despite having no legal claim to her.

Page 69 is not a good representation of the book. It’s a rather quiet moment as Adah looks inside the house in search of things to salvage. Unexpectedly she finds a box of letters in the attic, which remained dry, written to her husband’s first wife before she died. On page 69 the significance of the letters isn’t known, but later, those letters and others come to play a vital role.

Beyond page 69, there are very few quiet moments. Just when Adah thinks things can’t get much worse, she learns that a community will sometimes ignore evil behavior and stick together no matter what. Does she have what it takes to defy them all and escape?
Visit Ann Howard Creel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue