BelleBooks|April 6, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-61194-123-4
Broken in body and spirit, thirty-year-old, Roslyn Byrne secludes herself in the mystical wilderness of Manny’s Island Georgia. Can she find herself in the sweetness of old songs, old ways, and the gentle magic of the river people?
Kimberly Brock is a native Southerner, a former actor and special needs educator. Her work has appeared in anthologies and magazines. She lives with her husband and three children north of Atlanta, Georgia. The River Witch is her first novel. Visit her at kimberlybrockbooks.com
Roslyn secludes herself in the wilds of a Georgia island surrounded by beauty and a beautiful river. After an accident that ended her dream of becoming a ballerina and losing a baby, she spends two months is this mystical and strange place with which she learns to come to terms with the river people and her life.
I was mesmerized by this story from beginning to end and read it in one sitting. It was like paddling my own canoe down the lazy river partaking in the lives of the characters who were so clearly defined that I felt I knew each on intimately. The Trezevant family was an odd bunch all searching for something in this life while listening with their hearts to the stories of the past. This novel evoked a great deal of emotion for me.
Little ten-year-old, Damascus was an absolute charmer who lost her mother to cancer at very young age and was left with her angry, non-responsive, unemotional father who rarely spoke to her except to say things like: “Do we got milk?” or “Can I run that laundry?” She received no affection from him whatsoever, that she got from visiting the elderly at the local nursing home by allowing the old people to touch her, pat her on the head, and hold onto her hands. She said “they just love it….it’s kind of gross.” I think Damascus loved it as much as they did for it was really the only form of affection she herself got and that made me terribly sad. However, Damascus introduces, Roslyn to alligators and hoodoo magic in this gothic setting.
I was immensely disappointed when her father, Urey didn’t have the decency to show up at the family dinner Damascus had worked so hard to prepare. And I thought to myself, “How DARE he show up at the end and waltz in after it was over and Damascus and JB were out canoeing on river.” I loved that Roslyn slapped the pie plate off the table and told him he didn’t deserve to eat even that one chunk of crust in the bottom of the pan. I could picture myself standing beside Roslyn waiting for her to finish berating him just so I could lite into him myself!
Roslyn, Aunt Ivy, and her cousin, JB were influences in her life and provided her with most of the things she needed. Aunt Ivy homeschooled Damascus, JB spent a lot of time with her and Roslyn presented as a friend, but also entertainment for Damascus in trying to figure out exactly who this woman was that rented their summer cottage. But no one can take the place of real mother and father.
The ending was totally, totally unexpected regarding the letter and seeds that Damascus’s mother left behind for her before she died. What letter and seeds you ask? You’ll have to read the story to find out.
Kimberly Brock’s debut novel The River Witch is a beautifully written story of enchantment and intrigue and loss and healing complete with rich and vibrant imagery. It was like listening to the voices carry across the water in the dark of night. I felt immensely close to each of the characters and like them all for various reasons. Each brought an important part to the story and without their input the story wouldn’t be what it was. In my opinion both Roslyn and Damascus’s stories were equally heartbreaking.
This is one book I’ll be highly recommending and kudos to you Ms. Brock for a well-written novel! Congratulations and well done! This is one story that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. I can’t wait for a second book.