REVIEW: If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
The journey into fictional Appalachian Baines Creek is twisty, eerie, funny, and charismatic, with lyrical writing that engages while it haunts. I loved IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss and I can’t wait for more from this talented author.
Normally I’m not fond of multiple points of view, but I found this book fascinating. Such an eclectic mix of characters. Birdie was my favorite. With a crow nesting in her hair and bones around her neck, she’ll entertain until the last page. Full of eccentricities, Birdie has riddles and perfectly timed humor, with a one-liner I didn’t expect. Pure gold for this reader’s soul.
The novel begins in Sadie Blue’s point of view in a creepy scene where she wonders about the abuse she has endured. Not just the abuse from her new husband, but abuse from her father who talks to her from his grave. The reader wonders right along with Sadie as she ponders her life, as well as wondering about how she landed in this predicament. I couldn’t help but feel for Sadie’s plight, hoping somehow her life will get better.
Next, we get Sadie’s Granny Gladys Hicks’ point of view, and we get to know her through her friendship with her neighbor and second cousin by marriage, Marris Jones. These women have led a hard life and they have done things to survive that are better left unsaid at church.
There is the expected community church where gossip flows, and piety sometimes overrules good sense. The preacher and his sister are particularly interesting, adding more fun to the mix. When a new teacher arrives, all kinds of nonsense begins. Will she outlast those who want her gone?
That’s just the beginning of the characters that carry the story forward by telling their side of it. Sometimes being in the evil characters’ point of view is squirmy. I enjoyed them all so much that I had to read this book a second time, a few months later, before writing my review. I felt I couldn’t do the book justice without really concentrating on what made it such a great story.
In the end I decided that it’s the characters who won my heart, even when they were naughty. I loved the structure of this novel and the way it flows.
The prose in IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is beautifully rhythmic. It emerges as the story unfolds like a ballad. The rhythm captivated me as much as the story and characters, making it a unique blend of craft. Once I realized author Leah Weiss was a fan of Ron Rash, I knew why I loved her lyrical style. It’s a thing of beauty, unveiling the characters’ lives and the thriller content slowly around the setting. Crisp and clean, its qualities breathe fresh air straight into this literary lover’s heart. Highly recommended!
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.
If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
Category: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (August 22, 2017)
Rate 5 out of 5 – Highly Recommended