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Friday, August 7, 2020

The River Home

Egad. My last post to this blog was on December 30th of last year! Seven short months that sped by all too quickly. Amazing how time still flies even when the world has been turned upside down and you’re not having much fun… I am trying to keep busy, not so much writing… but, of course, a bit of reading. But none of the audio books and paperbacks I read has captured my full attention until Monday when I received the new HarperCollins paperback release (August 4th) copy of The River Home by Hannah Richell.

Richell, you will recall, is the award-winning author of three prior novels. Her third, The Peacock Summer (reviewed here July 1st of last year), tells the parallel stories of Lillian Oberon, the mistress of Cloudesley, and her granddaughter, Maggie, now living in Australia. Riddled with family secrets and surprising plot twists, I deemed it my perfect summer read. As I do, now, declare Richell’s fourth to be, once, again, the best novel I’ve read so far this summer.

Eve, Lucy, and Margot are the daughters of Ted Sorrell, a once successful now struggling playwright, and K. T. (Kit) Weaver, a wildly successful novelist of racy historical novels. Raised in a ramshackle farmhouse whose property abuts a river, the three sisters are bonded together until Margot, the youngest, leaves home after a devasting argument with her mother which threatens to destroy their family. Eight years later, impetuous Lucy announces she wants to marry her paramour, Tom, and gives Eve and Kit less than a week to plan a wedding for 80 guests at Windsfall, the family estate. She begs Margot to return home – “I need you” –precipitating a series of intriguingly captivating, mesmerizing, dynamically dramatic stories of family secrets, loyalties, betrayals, and misunderstandings.

I was so intrigued by this novel; I just couldn’t put it down. I read it in one day (yesterday) stopping only for dinner. It is that good. A Five-Star read!

An accomplished international best-selling author, Richell’s writing is fluid and descriptive. Her characters are well-developed and true-to-life, their lives unfolding against the backdrop of strikingly vivid poetic descriptions of landscapes, ambiances, and atmospheres. I reveled in her juxtapositioning of each character’s stories – both past and present – that propel the reader to learn Margot’s dire secret: What she did and what caused her to do it. There are a few subtle hints along the way, but the denouement is a cleverly and artistically constructed tear-jerking, heartwarming page-tuner.

Richell spices her novel throughout with apropos metaphoric and often ironic details, enhancing and augmenting the plot lines. For example, Ted finds three kittens and, deciding to keep them, names them after actual playwrights: two of which are Pinter and Mamet. There are references to real people, places, and events, enabling the stories to come alive. It is not as if you are reading a novel about some fictious characters’ lives; you are actually living within the pages with them… A novel you can easily get lost in, a refreshing respite from the dire pressing issues of the day…

The River Home is a great tour de force that goes beyond the label of women’s literature. It is modern literature are its finest.  

Stay safe, stay well. Wear your mask and…

Enjoy the read!

3:47 pm edt          Comments

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June J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations, two volumes of poetry, stories for children (of all ages) and a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Miss Elmira's Secret Treasure: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
Colonial Theatre: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Roarin' 20s 
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Columbia Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members

Adventures of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Spinach Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A Collection of More Spiritual Poems

We Three Kings

Beauty and the Beast


Noah's Rainbow

Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding Hood



Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She is currently working on her sixth novel.

June's novels can be purchased at amazon.com, through Barnes and Noble,
at the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area,
the Gateway Pharmacy in Phoenixvile, PA

For more information about her musicals, which are also available on amazon.com,