Book: After River
Author: Donna Milner
At 15, Natalie Ward believes her life is perfect. Growing up on a diary farm in the mountains of British Columbia less than 2 miles from the American border, she knows little of the outside world. But she knows family. A family so close & loving that they are the envy of the nearby town of Atwood. Friend, neighbors, young & old alike, show up regularly on their farmhouse porch - all willing to share in the never-ending daily chores in exchange for a place at the Warm family table.
Natalie chereishes her position as the only daughter to Nettie & Gus Ward. She adores her three brothers, especially the eldest, Boyer, whom she idolizes with a childlike worship. Like her mother, Natalie believes their lives are blessed, as rich & as sweet as the fresh milk that is their livelihood.
Everything changes one hot July afternoon in 1966 when a long-haired stranger walks up the winding dirt road to their door. The arrival of this soft-spoken American, a Vietnam War resister, will test the morals & beliefs of the Warm family & their close-knit community. The catastrophic events that are set in motion will leave relationships shattered & Natalie seperated from the family she loves in ways she could never have imagined.
35 years later, Natalie receives a late night phone call from her now-estranged brother, Boyer. Their mother is dying. Torn between the love of her mother & the fear of the past, Natalie returns to the town she has spent her entire adult life avoiding. As she travels back to her childhood home, she steels herself against the bittersweet memories of taht summer day in 1966 & the tragedy that followed. But before Natalie can find redemption, she must confront the secrets & horrors of a past she has desperately tried to forget.
First words out of my mouth about this book - LOVED IT! I was so wrapped up in this story!!!!!!
I dont think I have ever read a book with so much tragedy & life experiences & consequences & surprises as this book. And it was all believable - something you can imagine could actually happen to someone, a family, as well...
I dont want to give anything away because every bit of it was a surprise to me - & I think that's what made it so amazing to me. I mean, more then once, I gasped in parts - I was shocked in parts - I teared up at parts - my heart broke in so many parts...
I feel like I know this family... that I fell in love with River myself... & I wanted a brother like Boyer... & I wanted to live on this dairy farm & know Nettie & Gus... & laugh with the brothers who never seperated, Carl & Morgan....& that I could relate so deeply with Natalie & the things she struggled with.
This story shows how powerful silence is in a family... how secrets & shame & guilt can effect someone ... effect a family.
I truly loved this book
My rating: 5 skeins