Garner, New Hampshire is
a town delineated by its Puritan ethics and its "Live Free or Die"
mentality. In 1925, Garner's economic prospects are in decline and a group of
young, wealthy New Yorkers descend on Frances Giddens's family farm for summer
leisure. As Frances, a spirited, elusive girl born at the dawn of the twentieth
century, is drawn to the romance the newcomers represent, darker forces are
unleashed. When her body is found in rain-swollen Blood Brook, this deeply
private community begins to unravel. As the story unfolds, Allio's beautiful,
atmospheric prose reveals the town's hidden history and the fierce longings
locked in the hearts of its citizens.
I found the first third of the book (part of which you can browse at BookBrowse) hard to follow as it intersperses elements of the storyline with historical musings from the postman and various other characters. However, on finishing the second section (which is written in a more linear style) I went back and read some of the first part and felt I had a better grasp on the story. Overall, an interesting first novel from a writer to watch, and one that should be of special interest to anyone living in New Hampshire. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
It is rare to feel so truly transported by a work of fiction. Therefore, at the risk of alliterative (and accolade) excess, I dub Garner a masterly, multi-voiced, mood-altering mystery--and a debut so wise, certain, and cleverly empathetic as to seem the work of a sure-footed pro.
Starred Review. Allio's finely wrought writing - Frances has "a laugh of leaves," while Heald's wife muses that "the evening was what one married for" -- just barely overshadows a narrative that turns suspenseful in its final third.....an exceptional debut.
Nathaniel Hawthorne knew all about what happens when an individual's obligations to history and community meet a repressed passion. In Kirstin Allio's strange, startling and beautifully written first novel, Hawthorne may have found a worthy 21st century heir to his dark, evocative fable-making about that most American of locations, New England.
Kirstin Allio has taught
creative writing at Brown University and holds degrees from Brown and New York
Universities. Born in Maine, she lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her
husband and sons. This is her first novel.
Set in the remote mining country of West Virginia in the late twenties, Lick Creek is the compelling story of a fiery young woman, Emily Jenkins, and what happens when progress -- and tragedy -- comes to her family's farm.
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