A Bend in the Willow
by Susan Clayton-Goldner
ebook: 275 pages
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Released: Jan. 18, 2017
Source: ebook review copy from the author through the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Willowood, Kentucky - Robin Lee Carter is abused as a child and made fun of as "dirty junkyard trash" by other kids. In 1965, she disappears the same night a fire kills her rapist. She reinvents herself and lives a respectable life as Catherine Henry, married to a medical school professor in Tucson, Arizona.
In 1985, their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia. Their only hope is a bone marrow transplant, but no match is found. She must admit that she's been lying about her past and face the family she's left behind: her brother who thinks she's dead and a 19-year-old son, a product of her rape, who she gave up for adoption. She knows her return may lead to a murder charge, but Michael is suffering terribly and her husband no longer trusts her. Will she lose everything in her attempts to save her dying son?
A Bend in the Willow is women's fiction set in 1985 with frequent flashbacks to Robin Lee's childhood. I expected the book to focus on healing from the past. But, no, it's basically watching Robin Lee be physically and emotionally tortured--by sexual, physical, and emotional abuse in her past and by guilt now.
We're told the details of the horrible things the sick son has to endure and of the abuse she and her siblings endured as children, but apparently that wasn't enough. The husband's father is also sick with cancer. The husband may lose his dream job. And so on.
So many pages were spent adding layers of pain and guilt that relatively little time was spent on rebuilding the relationships and finding healing--the things I was interested in. People initially refused to even listen to Robin Lee because they felt so hurt but would decide that they needed to get over it for the sake of the sweet, sick boy.
In the last 4% of the story, things started looking hopeful. Then the story ends. We're left with hope that Michael may get better yet uncertain if things really do work out okay in the end. This left me feeling very frustrated.
There were some graphic details when describing the sexual abuse. There was a fair amount of bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.