A Compelling Family Drama in the Tradition of Anita Shreve.
Growing up in the 1960s on a dairy farm in the mountains of British Columbia, Natalie Ward knew little of the outside world.
But she had her family. A family so close and loving that Natalie believed they were the envy of the nearby town of Atwood - particularly her eldest brother Boyer, who Natalie held especially close to her heart.
But Natalie began to question her family's idyllic existence the summer she turned fifteen.
The arrival of a softly spoken stranger, an American draft-dodger called River, would test the morals and beliefs of the family and the community to breaking point. The series of events following that summer would leave relationships shattered and the Ward family changed forever.
About the Author
Donna Jonas Milner used to work in Real Estate until her husband encouraged her to start writing. Now she cannot imagine doing anything else. Donna likes to create real people who face real moral dilemmas, characters who speak to the reader and live with them long after their story is over. Donna lives in British Columbia with her husband.
In a debut that mixes hothouse melodrama with the eventual getting of wisdom, a Canadian farming family is shattered by the arrival of a charismatic draft dodger.What happened at the Ward farm during that summer of 1966, when American "River" Jordan (a Paul Newman look-alike) worked there, that ended up driving a deep wedge between mother Nettie and daughter Natalie, separating them for decades? Then again, what didn't happen? Milner's first novel initially evokes an idyll of remote rural life and a happy family, whose dynamic is completely rearranged by the inclusion of dope-smoking, free-thinking, kindhearted River. Narrated some three decades later by restless, exiled Natalie, heading home to see her mother (whose deathbed reveries also round out events), the story moves from a sunny small-town scenario to something far darker. Natalie "seduced" River one night, only to later find him in bed with her beloved eldest brother Boyer. River gets lost in the mountains and dies, and Natalie is raped by the creepy mayor who blackmails her into silence by threatening to expose the homosexuality (a crime in Canada until 1969). Nevertheless, abuse triggered by homophobia threatens the family; Boyer is horribly damaged in a fire that burns down his cabin; and Natalie finds herself pregnant and, after giving birth to a stillborn child, leaves town. In a tear-jerking, lengthy resolution, Natalie and her family put all the pieces back together as the narrative once again swings between the soapy and the sensitive.An intermittently heavy-handed parable of redemption. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 358
Published: 21st August 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.34