THE RIVER WITCH. That is a great title. When I first noticed this book going around the blogs, my curiosity was piqued right away. As a lover of Southern Gothic Fiction, I simply couldn't pass it up.
What the Book is About: (No Spoilers)
Twenty-four year old Roslyn Byrne has hit rock bottom physically, mentally and professionally. Living through a car crash that left her body mangled, a miscarriage of a child she hadn't planned on but now can't seem to let go of, and her professional ballet career in ruins, time is the only medicine left to heal her body, heart, and spirit. So much of the recent past is still a nightmarish blur to Roslyn so she decides to turn to her roots and beliefs of her late grandmother for help in getting her mind and body strong again.
Roslyn rents a house on Manny's Island, Georgia from the Trezevant family for the summer. Along with the house, comes stories of the family, their ancestors, and tales of hoodoo spells and conjure women, but that doesn't deter Roslyn, it draws her nearer to it, and to the mystical, healing music she remembered from her grandmother when she was just a girl.
As Roslyn begins to settle in to her summer hideaway, she meets Demascus, the daughter of the man who used to live in the house. The two become reluctant friends and soon Roslyn develops a protectiveness over the girl who grows pumpkins in the river bank so close to where the alligators live. Alligators that Demascus believes Roslyn has summoned. Rumors about Roslyn are rampant in the small island community but she faces them head on along with her own demons.
This book is full of mystique and peculiar customs that is the perfect backdrop for this story that I found very original. Through Kimberly Brock's lyrical prose, I painted a vivid picture in my mind of Manny's Island and the house on the canal. I could even hear the howling mating sounds of the alligators that kept Roslyn up at night.
The characters of this novel have a mystery about them as well. These are people who don't live in the hustle -bustle of the modern world. I had the feeling of being transported back to a time when people had a connection to the land they lived and worked on. Demascus' father was the most mysterious of all. He was a complex man, hard to figure out, yet something about him makes you want to keep trying. Demascus was a wonderful character, reminding me so much of another little girl named Scout, that we all know and love.
I really enjoyed this book and the idea of the hoodoo charms and spells of the conjure women. I was impressed with how Ms. Brock wrote a story set in modern day but made it feel like a trip back in time to another place. I was captivated by that. This is a true Southern Gothic story that will stay with me for some time. In my opinion, there aren't enough of these types of books and I will be anxiously waiting for Kimberly Brock's next release. THE RIVER WITCH is a perfect example of why I am so fond of Southern Fiction.
THE RIVER WITCH
Author: Kimberly Brock (@Kimberlydbrock)
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Published: April 2012
Length: 246 pp