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The Northern Reach

by W.S. Winslow

The Northern Reach by W.S. Winslow X
The Northern Reach by W.S. Winslow
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  • Rose N. (Saginaw, MI)
    A Town and Family in Maine
    What a joy it is to look in on this Maine town, near the Northern Reach, and be introduced to one of its extended families. One can easily relate to the ups and downs, the happy times and the sad times, that each family member experiences. Winslow expertly creates a portrait of ordinary people in a way that reflects the foibles of life many of us know, sometimes endure, and often love.
  • Linda J. (Urbana, OH)
    Everybody's Family is a little bit...
    This is the story of family interactions in a small town in Maine. Some are Catholic. Some are not. Some were born on the "right" side of the tracks. Some were not. Some are faithful to their spouse. Some are not. Some are liked by others in the town. Others...

    At first, I had a little trouble, despite family trees posted at the beginning of each chapter, following where I was reading on the tree. Eventually, I stopped worrying about it and just went along for the ride. It was a pleasant journey.

    This cradle Catholic, long time church organist has NEVER heard the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" in a Catholic Church. Too popular/secular?
  • cece j
    the northern reach
    I am not a fan of long family sagas that can drone on for hundreds of pages, but this new author has given us a novel of vignettes about four families in upper Maine over most of the last century, who are far from dull or mundane. She has chosen her words well to tell their stories of grief, heart break, lost love and secrets in a completely compelling way. You might find many of the characters unlikable, and they often do not like each other, but they are always connected and drawn back to each other by strong family bonds that force them to reveal their love and guilt and dependence on each other -- so much like my own large family. While their foibles can bring smiles and laughs to you, they might also bring tears. I will be watching for Ms. Winslow's next novel and hope it appears soon.
  • Leslie G. (Peabody, MA)
    Great Debut
    The Northern Reach is an extraordinary debut novel. The interconnected stories that make up the work deal, in almost all cases, with individuals who possess yearnings for what could have been. Their everyday lives chronicle a litany of unfulfilled desires. The harsh Maine seascape perfectly reflects the internal challenges the characters undergo. The lyrical language of The Northern Reach will resonate long after the reader has finished the novel.
  • Cynthia W. (Austin, TX)
    The Northern Reach
    For someone who loves people and reading about what makes them tick, why they make the choices they do, this book will have you glued to the pages and sorry that you've already come to the (albeit satisfying) conclusion. Winslow gives you the "fly on the wall" view into the foibles, failings, and quirks as well as strengths and strong points of those who live in a little town on the coast of Maine.

    Covering the twentieth century and the intermingling among four families is no small feat. At a little over 200 pages, the perfect length in my opinion, Winslow's writing is spartan and spare, each word necessary, not a single word extraneous.
    I had a bit of a slow start with chapter one, but once I got the hang of the family trees introducing each chapter along with the year or span of years covered, I was hooked! It's one of the top 5 books I've read in 2020!
  • Colleen L. (Casco, ME)
    A view of Maine
    I chose to review this book because the setting was Maine. It basically is a story of an extended family living in fictional Wellbridge Maine. Since I live in the state, I was interested in how the author described it.

    First the pros - (1) the author clearly has visited here or lived here at some point. His descriptions of down east Maine are on point and I felt like I knew a few small towns that could clearly be Wellbridge. I loved his descriptions. (2) The interactions between characters was interesting and I greatly appreciated the family trees that the author posted in the start of each story. Since there were a large number of characters, the Family tree was helpful. (3) I loved the cover. I don't normally comment on covers but I thought this one was especially well done. It drew me in.

    Cons - (1) I felt like I was reading a sequence of short stories. Yes, the characters were related in some way but the stories were very short and I would loved to seen one or two of them expanded in more detail.

    All in all, I enjoyed the book and it moved along quickly. The book reminded me of "Olive Kitteridge" in the way it was written. All in all, a good debut novel that I would recommend to my friends and book clubs.
  • Viqui G. (State College, PA)
    The Northern Reach
    This was a delightful novel of extended families and their interactions living in a small town in northern Maine. The author gives us snapshots of these families in the novel's chapters. Some characters we meet several times such as Edith Baines who is introduced as a bitter old woman initially. However, in a subsequent story we meet Edith again as a very young, impressionable girl from a poor family. I enjoyed following these families throughout the span of the 5 or so generations that W. S. Winslow included in her novel. This novel is an enjoyable literary stroll through a town which is a microcosm of small town America in the past century.
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