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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

First, There Is a River

First, There Is a River - Kathy Steffen Emma Perkins is a shell of a woman, her husband an abusive monster who believes that he is teaching her God's lessons with each beating. When he sends their children away, she has had all she can take and escapes to the safety of her uncle and a job aboard his riverboat. It is aboard Spirit where she learns to live again.

This debut novel was a disappointment. I found the story flat and predictable, and it really dragged despite being a rather short 250 pages. The characters were poorly written, almost caricatures, and it was impossible to grow attached to any of them. It was obvious from the very first sentence that you were meant to hate Emma's husband, and the reader was force-fed overdone passages about his cruelty. Further, the writing was simplistic and amateurish. It left me wondering if this is a poor example of self-publishing. Apparently it's not, but it could certainly have used a good editor. Thankfully, it was a quick read. I will not be returning to any future offerings by this author, and sadly would recommend that others skip them too.