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Monday, August 14, 2017

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss

Setting: Baines Creek, North Carolina
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: August 22, 2017

There was a lot I loved in If the Creek Don't Rise. This work of fiction takes place in Baines Creek, a rural Appalachian community where few are educated and life revolves around mountain living and, sometimes, just surviving the day. The setting really came through. The education and wisdom each character had shaped them into either very likable characters or others you couldn't help but despise.

Sadie Blue is the lead in this story. She's young, naive, and ends up pregnant and married to an abusive moonshiner. Her days involve keeping out of Roy's way and avoiding the next beating. She's only been married for two weeks, and this is not the life she imagined or hoped for. Her grandmother feels helpless, as only her granddaughter can decide what to do with her life. Sadie's Aunt Marris seems to be the person in the best position to convince Sadie to open her eyes and think only of herself and her baby.

Kate's new to town. She's come to teach the children in the area. Teachers have failed in this mission, but Kate's determined to succeed. Her arrival may be the turning point Sadie Blue and many of the children in the community need.

Eli, the community's preacher, is taken by Kate. For the first time, he's wondering if romance is something he shouldn't be turning his back on. Meanwhile, his sister is just as determined to get this woman she is happy to label as a heathen out of their community.

Finally, there's Birdie, a mountain woman who seems smarter than them all. Birdie's experiences and knowledge make her a trusted resource as Kate tries to fit into a community that doesn't seem to want her here.

The different characters tell the story, so you get a feel for the community in a very involved way. Each character has a unique dialect and way of speaking, so it takes a little of time adapting to the vocabulary.

The biggest reason I can't say I loved this story. It felt so unfinished. I have to wonder if this is the first in a series. While some of the story was resolved, other aspects went ignored. I was disappointed by the rushed ending and wonder what happened. Maybe this is the first in a series and I just don't know it. I hope that's the case anyway.

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