Sunday, May 16, 2010

Review #66: The Last River Child

Title: The Last River Child
Author: Lori Ann Bloomfield
Publisher: Second Story Press
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copy from Author
ISBN: 978-1-897187-66-1
Price/Pages: $17.95/280
Release Date: March 15, 2010

My Description:

The Last River Child is the debut novel from Canadian author Lori Ann Bloomfield. It tells the story of Peg Staynor, a young girl born with almost no color to her eyes. She is the second daughter to a farming family that holds many secrets of their own. After her birth, a meteorite lands in their small Canadian town of Walvern. What follows is a series of seemingly "bad luck"; the 1st World War begins, livestock get sick, a drought begins, crops die. The local myth is that the Magurvey River that runs through the town holds an evil spirit that attaches itself to a child known as a "River Child". The community of Walvern believes that child is Peg.

My Review:

I have to admit this kind of story is right up my alley. I originally was not going to review it until late July when my schedule opened up but I randomly picked it up a few days ago in between books and finished it in two days.

The writing style is simplistic, one that, in time, I can see becoming quite a bit more skilled. Though that did not retract from the story or my enjoyment. I thought the author did a very nice job creating the story of Peg and the community. The story is told in three parts going back and giving the history of Peg's parents and how they came to Walvern. Mostly you get to know Peg's story and her sister Sarah.

The superstition of the River Child was fascinating but it was relatively a minor piece to the story overall. I was hoping for a bit more drama and climax regarding this piece but it never came. That would be my only complaint about this book. It didn't really build to a point of climax and resolution. It was written more like waves, up and down; little things would happen to the characters, they would react and then life would move on.

In my opinion, that could just be from a first time novelist. I think the characters were written well and the community as a whole was very well created. The reality of the war and its impact on a small farm community was right on. She captured the youthful enthusiasm of the local boys and their "Go get 'em" attitude and the pride of the families. She also captured the realty of stepping into adulthood for the young girls in becoming wives and mothers.

Rating: 4 stars/6 stars
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Though lacking in the build I have come to expect in most novels, I still felt eager to read about the fate of these characters. It was a pleasant, charming, heartbreaking, hopeful character sketch of this Canadian farming community. Lori Ann Bloomfield is a promising author in my opinion and I was grateful for the opportunity to read her novel.

Thank you to her for sharing it with me.

Author Profile:
Lori Ann Bloomfield grew up in a small farming community in southern Ontario before moving to Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in several magazines in Canada and the US. She keeps the First Line Blog- as a source of inspiration for fiction writers.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

My Description:


Ryan said...

The cover is absolutely gorgeous and your review has piqued my curiousity. Thanks!