I would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for my copy of this ARC for my honest review.
The story focuses on a handful of locals in the small mountain community of Baines Creek, Appalachia, North Carolina. It is a hash and hard life there. A poor community with a core of people who are willing to help those deserving of it.
Preacher Eli Perkins travels through the community swapping jokes and sharing food. He is the polar opposite of his spinster sister Prudence, who doesn’t seem to have a kind bone in her body. She is a bitter and resentful woman. Then there is Marris Jones, who is eternally good-hearted, charitable, helpful, understanding and willing to go out of her way to be understanding. The local healing woman Birdie Rocas, some are scared of her and think she is a witch. Probably something to do with Samuel the crow who hitches a ride in her hair, but she has a vast knowledge of plant, herbs and medicines as well as poisons. She keeps a journal of things that happen on the mountains, she is a keeper of folklore and natural wonders. The newly appointed teacher Kate Shaw, who on arrival learns more from the locals than she teaches. But as the mountain has accepted her, so do the people. But she has found a place where she feels she can settle and manages to find a place for herself.
Then there is the grumbling Gladys Hicks. She is the Grandmother of Sadie Blue. Gladys took Sadie in after her father had died, and left parentless. She thinks she is world wise but is very naive. Her world comes crashing down around her when her husband Roy Tupkin starts beating her after they have been married on ly fifteen days. Gladys know Roy is trouble, but Sadie will not listen to her.
This story is very well written, with some very unique characters and their histories. The way the people live, or I should say the way some people just exist gives a great depth to this story. It shows how poor and destitute family’s are, children with no shoes and wearing burlap sacks. If you think this is going to be a sad and depressing story, you will be wrong. It shows how people with a simple existence have a rich community spirit for those deserving of it. I know that would never feed them, but the goodwill and grace of others will.
It gets straight in at the beginning, with Sadie being beaten up by Roy, but that is just the hook, after that the story almost strolls along, but it still maintains its grip on the reader. I would definitely recommend this book to readers.
A strikingly sincere portrait of a town and its buried secrets from an outstanding new voice in southern fiction.
In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.
As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons. The folks of Baines Creek will take you deep into the mountains with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.