Monday, October 3, 2016
About the Book
It wasn’t all poodle skirts and rock ‘n’ roll. From its deceptively innocent beginning—two young teens exploring the riverbank and spying on “Crazy Haggerty’s” dilapidated house—through the intertwining story lines of paganism, murder and sexual violence, Stony River shows how perilous life was for some girls in the 1950s. Absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenage longing and small-town pretense abound. The threat of violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighborhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl and another gone missing.
The central mystery, inspired by the crimes of Robert Zarinsky as documented by Robin Gaby Fisher and Judith Lucas in Deadly Secrets (Newark Star–Ledger 2008), keeps the reader guessing until almost the very end, when the frightening truth is revealed. In this coming-of-age mystery, three girls learn who they are and what they’re capable of surviving—and forgiving.
I really liked how the voices of these three teenage girls were distinct. Each one stood out, independent of the others. I always knew who was talking even when the point of view would change. They didn't blend together in my mind, which often happens when reading a typical coming-of-age novel where all the characters sound the same.
But there's nothing typical about this book or its characters. They're all looking for that pivotal male figure in their lives, although none of them seem to find him.
Tereza is the wild child, jumping from the fire right into the frying pan. Abused by her stepfather, she runs away from home, only to wind up married at fifteen to a violent schizophrenic. With below average reading skills, she thinks she can rely on her looks to get by, turning tricks in the backseat of cars in order to gain a sense of power over a man. Although, when her husband turns out to be a cold fish in the bedroom, she soon learns just how unreliable of a strategy that can be.
Linda is the overweight overachiever. The good girl who never puts a foot out of place. She does everything her parents tell her to do, until their marriage begins to unravel right in front of her eyes. With more freedom, she begins to act out, accepting rides from strange men, and nearly paying the ultimate price for her reckless behavior.
Miranda is the mystical fairy child. Her father hides her away from the world after she gives birth to their incestuous child. When he dies unexpectedly, she's freed from her prison of seclusion of books and pagan rituals. However, she's unable to cope in the real world, quickly becoming the gullible target of all those who believe they're "helping" her.
Of the three, Miranda is the one I connected with the most. All three girls are on separate journeys of self discovery, and it's fascinating, at the end of the novel, when they all start to overlap. Yet for me, Miranda was the only one who remained true to herself throughout the journey. She didn't care about appearances or sacrificing her integrity to get ahead. She just wanted to help people. It can be argued that she suffered the greatest amount of trauma, yet her heart remained pure. She wasn't out to advance herself, she was only seeking the truth.
And, of the three, I think she's the only one who found it.
Stony River can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Prices/Formats: $10.99 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Genre: Crime, Historical, Coming of Age
Release: October 6, 2016
Publisher: Leapfrog Press
Click to add to your Goodreads list.
About the Author
Tricia Dower confesses to smoking a river punk or two in Rahway, New Jersey, where she was born and raised by perfectly fine parents who did not keep her hidden in a spooky house. A graduate of Gettysburg College and a Phi Mu, she built a career in business before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her literary work has crossed borders and won awards. She expanded a story from her Shakespeare-inspired collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) into Stony River, which was first published in Canada (Penguin, 2012). Her novel, Becoming Lin (Caitlin Press), was released in Canada in 2016. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Dower lives and writes in Brentwood Bay, BC.
Links to connect with Tricia:
About the Giveaway
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