This book was so wonderfully well judged and marvellously paced that I would highly recommend it all readers, not just those with an interest in Lesfic.
The character of Greer is so well realised that even though she is a deeply flawed and traumatised person, she is still a stunningly interesting and attractive woman I hadissues with the Dar and Kate characters, but still found them interesting and compelling.
The whole story of Chris, told in his letters and recounted stories was incredibly moving and touching to anyone that has a son.
I understand why a number of reviewers have talked about the epilogue in less than growing terms, but I understand entirely why the author took that decision and get entirely why, within the context of the narrative, the ending is a necessary full stop.
This Edition Is OUT OF PRINTPUBLISHED By Bedazzled Ink, MarchThree Women Three Lies One Chance To Tell The Truth The River Within, From Lambda Literary Award Nominee, Baxter Clare Trautman, Follows Three Women Whose Bonds Are Strained, Reforged, And Ultimately Strengthened As They Struggle To Choose Between The Lives They Think They Should Have And The Lives They Want For Thirty Years Foreign Correspondent Greer Madison Has Competed Brilliantly In A Man S World But The Hardships Of A Life Spent Reporting From War Zones Are Catching Up To Her In A Foolish Attempt To Impress A Young Colleague, Greer Involves Them Both In A Deadly Accident, That Only She Knows The Truth About Returning Stateside, She Recuperates At The Home Of Her Best Friend, Darlene Richardson For The First Time In The Course Of Their Thirty Year Friendship Darlene Is Reluctant To Accommodate Greer, For Darlene Suddenly Has Secrets Of Her Own Kate, Darlene S Spontaneous, Willful Daughter Is Desperate To Bring Her Struggling Family Together After The Death Of Her Brother, Chris Vowing To Settle Down And Be A Good Daughter Kate Becomes Engaged To A Man She Doesn T Love While Darlene Retreats Into Her Secrets, Kate And Greer Find Unexpected Pleasure In Each Other S Company Restless Evenings In The Richardson S Guest House Foster A Deepening Intimacy Between The Two Women, Culminating With Each Having To Admit The Secret They Would Rather Hide The Aftermath Of Their Painful Revelations Force Darlene S Own Confession And With All Secrets Bared, Each Woman Must Choose Whether To Stay On The Safety Of The Known Shore, Or Dive Into The Uncharted But Healing Waters Of The River Within This was a fascinating story where we get to see 3 different women dealing with their own emotional and psychological crisis and the lies they hide behind What s really interesting is that the lies are really the ones that they tell themselves Darlene and her son s death Greer and her career and who she has become Kate hiding who she is and what she wants in an effort to make everyone else happy One of the most powerful scenes for me was when Darlene kills the Blue Jay who tried to steal the chick I was horrified at the visual it created but at the same time it fit perfectly into the turmoil that is Darlene s life I also found it interesting that her daughter Kate appears to be looking for that same blue jay in the next several chapters I m not sure what that symbolism represented but to me it felt like it just represented everything that was wrong in Darleen and Kate s life at that moment.
Then there is Greer, the war correspondent who seems so lost and I kept waiting for her to do something drastic to ease her own pain and guilt over the death of Sigrid I also found myself feeling bad for her because it felt like she was so alone and really needed Darleen, who was just too caught up in her own issues to be emotionally available.
This was well worth the read.
The story Greer Madison, Foreign Correspondent, has breathed war for the last thirty years She s the best there is But when a colleague dies trying to reach her, something inside her breaks Greer finds herself back in the States, nursing her injuries at the house of her long time friend, Darlene.
Darlene too is a casualty of war After the death of her son, Chris, the last thing she needs is her perceptive friend rattling her carefully crafted mask of normalcy and the lies she s built to protect her family from the truth of Chris death.
Kate, Darlene s daughter, is a young woman with the perfect fianc , the perfect wedding, and the perfect job But somewhere in the year or so after Chris death, she s misplaced her life and she doesn t know where to look for it or even if she should It s a life she glimpses when she meets Greer, drawn to the battered reporter as if to flame.
Each woman lives in her own pain numbed world, and each knows her balancing act cannot last When the truths come out, will there be anything left of them My impressions That question and the Message capital M of searching and redemption underlies the many narrative threads in the book the characters do not simply tell their stories, they tell the entirety of their stories, in casual but unbroken dialogue paragraphs of poignant descriptions and turns of phrase.
The characters are alive, each in their own excruciating human realities, and the story shows its strength in small ways that they slip up The life is in the details, and not only in the details of foreign wars and bereavement Kate s dilemma is a great counterweight to the emotional agony Darlene and Greer face The River Within is about facing tragedies, large or small, heartbreaking or mundane.
The piece relies on breadth rather than depth The brilliantly crafted flashbacks take the reader across Russia, into the deserts, mountains, and valleys of the Middle East, then to the cities again, spiraling over the places and events Greer had experienced over her thirty years reporting, pulling out the most vivid and socking moments and catching them as if in freeze frame In a sense, the book is told in a series of recounted vignettes embedded within the overarching character interactions.
As a story about the collateral damage of war, the destructive consequences of hubris, and the human need to reach out, it is well wrought and engaging The reasons my rating dropped a point and then another lies in between all the things that impressed me as a reader Yes, the characters retell their stories but entirely too eloquently This is a book I would have to hear to fully believe, with an actor or reader to re interpreting the lines to give them a spoken sound.
The descriptions were lovely, yet I found some part of me counting repetitions or thinking, I m only halfway through How can that be The characters were breathtakingly human, yes but only most of the time Sometimes, they turned into opaque mouthpieces for the stories they told In the pacing, I felt the story skimped where it should have slowed, and slowed where it should have skimped.
Were the brief sex scenes always relevant Maybe.
What about Aeron Maybe.
Could the ending have been cut by two chapters Maybe.
Mileage may vary.
And I will add this If you start reading and you have any trouble with the opening, just skip the prologue I had nearly stopped there, and, having finished the book, I know I d have missed out.
A solid three point five rounded up originally posted on tCR.
A well written novel littered with beautiful prose I loved this book and felt that it thoroughly explored the impact our decisions have on our adult lives Adressing issues of death, sexuality and friendship this book was a lovely read from start to finish Congratulations to Trautman on such a wonderful book I read for two main reasons either I wish to be challenged and I use reading as a self discovery process, or I wish to be entertained, in which case the story must be written captivatingly enough to suspend my disbelief I suppose this could make me a harsh critic, but this is just what I like when I read.
Having said that, The River Within fallsinto my first reason for reading to be challenged and to think and possibly learn something about myself that I can take forward I find books that fall into this realm to be particularly difficult to review, as the books themselves tend to focuson the internal rather than the external and the lessons conveyed are personal to the reader What I can say is that this book hit the mark as a challenging and rewarding read I also think this book could speak to any reader at any age, as the lessons being conveyed are things we can all relate to and the message is a timeless one One of the things I really liked about this book was the messy life aspect The three main characters were all facing internal challenges that were manifesting themselves in external ways Each had to come to terms with themselves as their secrets propelled them towards undesirable futures, and they all knew it on some level or another The focus on the three women remained tight, but the almost poetic descriptions of different people, places and times provided a nice relief from the growing tension The characters personalities were revealed organically through stories retold, conversations, and the actions they took The little nuances made them all thatendearing and memorable.
The one thing I did not care for so much was the epilogue The whole book has a nice messy life feel to it, and it could have ended on that same note sans epilogue I felt the epilogue tidied things up a bit too much and took a little away from everything up until then So if you re like me and don t mind loose ends, then skip the epilogue But if you enjoy a finer polish to the end of a good book, then go ahead and read the epilogue Either way, you won t be disappointed.
Just finished this sensational novel I am still reeling from the experience and will addwhen I m able This truly is a Must read I m not a reviewer, but I was knocked sideways emotionally by this book I read it over a few days and grewandsad, despairing, and restless The storyline for each of the three women wound tighter as their connection to one one another becamecomplex the back story in some flashback added color and depth to the portrait that the author created The detailed picture of War through letters and stories became, in itself, another character eventerrifying.
The author s ability to evoke that intensity ofemotion is laudable and masterful Greer,Dar, and Kate continue to compete for my attention.
These characters arethan three dimensional, I could feel their breath and feel the heat.
Baxter Clare has created an amazing novel.
The River Within
Well, okay, 5 stars may be a little much but what parent doesn t think her children are the best The River Within focuses on the lives of Greer Madison a war journalist who has covered the Stan beat for decades and who was recently involved in a situation where she was seriously injured and a young woman, a photojournalist, who was with her was killed and Darlene, Doug and Katie Richardson, whose son Darlene and Doug and brother Katie Christopher recently died while serving in the Middle East as a corpsman for a group of Marines Darlene knows exactly how Christopher died, but refuses to tell Doug and Katie, and mourns Christopher with an obsessiveness that is driving the rest of her family away Greer, by contacting the men that Christopher was serving with, has also discovered exactly how he died and tries repeatedly to get Darlene to tell her family the truth The story is so muchthan that, though it is a poignant journey into the hearts and minds of a group of people who are grieving, for different reasons and in different ways, and by doing so are each cutting themselves off from those who might help them.
I was amazed by how much I loved this book I m not normally one to enjoy something with so much pathos, but this story engaged me from the first page and refused to let me go The characters are all accessible, even when behaving in a manner that made me what to smack them, and carefully crafted and drawn to create a bond between them and the reader Baxter Clare Trautman has done an amazing job in creating a story that walks the fine line between hope and despair, growth and stagnation, and I believe that almost anyone would take something great from this story.
One thing I particularly liked is that such a variety of people are included in the story Greer is a self described lesbian Katie s best friend Anthony is gay Darlene and Doug has distinctly different, but compatible, personalities We never actually meet Christopher, but get to know him through his letters home, which are sprinkled throughout the book and which provide us a very accurate portrayal of his personality and how it has changed through his time in the Middle East.
The only problem I saw throughout the book was some issues with copy editing there were a lot of instances of the misuse of your you re and possessives that should have been caught by a careful copy editor This is, unfortunately, quite common among modern publishers and it is rare you find a book without these sorts of issues.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who can get their hands on it Do yourself a favor and pick this one up it s a keeper