Friday 21 May 2010

After River by Donna Milner

Published by Harper Perennial an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and HarperCollins Publishers Canada

Natalie Ward is a 15 year old girl, living in the Cascades of British Columbia. Natalie and her family live a happy life with their dairy farm - a farm that is known in the community as a place where all are welcomed, where every visitor is fed, and where love so obviously and abundantly resides.

Then one day a stranger arrives and accepts a job as a farmhand. Though some in the community are less than thrilled with the arrival of an American draft dodger, the Ward family are happy to have River with them. That is until tragedy strikes and a family is torn apart. Some 35 years later, circumstances make it essential for Natalie to face her fears and return to the home she has avoided for so long...

I found this novel to be a real page-turner. I had read the blurb on the back of the book and it seemed interesting but I have to say, neither that synopsis, or the one I have written above actually do this book justice. I fell in love with this novel very quickly thanks to the wonderfully developed characters and the brilliant storytelling talents of the author. Donna Milner has a gift for weaving a story so gracefully, so vividly, making the story come to life in your mind without ever providing any real clues as to the next twist or turn. In doing so she adds an air of mystery to an already dramatic and emotionally stimulating read that just really heightens the senses. Perhaps that is why this book seems so stunningly real while reading it. The downside is that when the last page is turned, it almost feels like one is saying goodbye to very dear friends.

I will definitely be reading more by this author and highly recommend you pick this one up but be warned, you are going to have great difficulty putting it back down once you do!

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