August 5, 2013

The Widows of Braxton County Blog Tour: Review

The Widows of Braxton County: A Novel
Author: Jess McConkey
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks


Family secrets can bind and destroy

Kate is ready to put her nomadic, city-dwelling past behind her when she marries Joe Krause and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years. But life on the farm isn't quite as idyllic as she'd hoped. It's filled with chores, judgmental neighbors, and her mother-in-law, who—unbeknownst to Kate until after the wedding—will be living with them.

As Kate struggles to find her place in the small farming community, she begins to realize that her husband and his family are not who she thought they were. According to town gossip, the Krause family harbors a long-kept secret about a mysterious death that haunts Kate as a dangerous, unexplainable chain of events begins.

The Widows of Braxton County is a captivating novel that follows the Krause family and the tragedies that have befallen them. The story is told in alternating time periods - parts are set in modern times while the others are set back in the 1800s. The book tells the heartbreaking stories of two women - Hannah and Kate - who marry into the Krause family without fully understanding what they're getting into. We get to see a glimpse of their daily lives on the family farm as well as the way that the Krause men treat them. Both women struggle to fit into a farming community that doesn't fully accept them and a family who has secrets far darker than anyone imagined.

This was a compelling mystery novel that was told in a smooth, lyrical way that had me totally engrossed within the first couple of pages. The story is divided between two time periods - the present day and the 1800s - and we get to see the lives of two women who have married into the Krause family. Although they are a century apart, their lives are eerily similar. I loved getting to know characters from both periods - I thought it was interesting to see each of their personalities and how much they seemed to have in common. All the characters were well written with distinct personalities and traits, which made them realistic and believable. The story is a mystery that goes back several generation in the Krause family and there are so many different layers to the story that I fully enjoyed trying to figure out the family's dark secrets and solve the mystery of what was really happening. The author added in lots of great twists and turns that I didn't see coming, which I love when it comes to mystery novels. On top of being namely a mystery, the book deals with deep topics that affect everyone - love, betrayal, family, grief, secrets and even the subject of domestic abuse. These topics added a whole new layer to the book that I really thought gave it depth and dimension. The writing was perfectly paced with vivid descriptions and details - I could practically shut my eyes and see myself alongside the characters as the plot played out. Overall, this was a beautifully written novel with interesting characters, and a fascinating plot. Highly recommended for fans of mysteries and general fiction!

Jess McConkey, aka Shirley Damsgaard, is an award-winning writer of short fiction and the author of the Ophelia and Abby mysteries and Love Lies Bleeding. She lives in a small Iowa town, where she served as postmaster for more than twenty years.
Connect with Jess on Facebook.

Follow the rest of the tour:

Tuesday, July 23rd:  Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, July 25th: 5 Minutes For Books
Monday, July 29th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, July 30th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, July 31st: BoundByWords
Thursday, August 1st: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Monday, August 5th: A Dream Within a Dream
Tuesday, August 6th: Excellent Library
Tuesday, August 13th: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, August 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, August 15th: Becca’s Byline
Friday, August 16th: Sweet Southern Home
Monday, August 19th: The Reader’s Hollow
Tuesday, August 20th: Tina’s Book Reviews


1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing great things about this book - I can't wait to read it to see what everyone is raving about!

    Thanks for being on the tour.