Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jeanine Cummins - The Crooked Branch: A Novel

56. The Crooked Branch: A Novel by Jeanine Cummins (2013)
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 13 December 2016
Finished: 15 December 2016
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 8 December 2016
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Jeanine Cummins is a new author for me.

After the birth of her daughter, Emma, first-time mother Majella finds herself feeling extremely strange - almost like she has somehow become separated or disconnected from herself and her family. The usually resilient and self-deprecating young woman suddenly feels isolated and exhausted - feelings which she slowly comes to realize reach far beyond simply being overwhelmed by her recent introduction to new motherhood. Trying to better understand her extraordinary feelings of 'differential otherness', Majella understands that no matter how much they may love her, her family just can't help her in this particular situation; so she seeks out professional help.

Late one night, while investigating the source of a strange sound up in her attic, Majella discovers the diary of her maternal ancestor - Ginny Doyle. While it is encouraging for Majella to find Ginny's diary - and to again feel the spark of a connection toward this tough and determined woman, Majella is nevertheless shocked to read a story of murder in her family history. Disturbed to think that she may be genetically predisposed to acts of violence herself, Majella sets out to explore Ginny's past.

With the ravages of the famine upon her, a terrified and distraught Ginny Doyle fled from Ireland to America. Although she was eventually able to acquire passage for herself and her children, not all of Ginny's family were able to escape and to start over fresh in their lives. So, what actually happened during those harrowing years, and just why does Ginny continue to call herself a killer?

Despite the centuries that separate them, Majella is heartened to learn that her ancestor Ginny was in so many ways a woman just like herself - just a mother struggling to find a way to raise and protect her young children. Ginny's battles may have been more fundamental than Majella's - as she struggled to keep her young family alive during the time of Ireland's Great Hunger - yet Majella can't deny the strong connection that she still feels towards Ginny. However, does the fierce tenderness that Majella begins to feel towards her newborn daughter outweigh everything else - or is she actually genetically fated to be a bad mother? Determined to understand the truth of her heritage as well as her own identity, Majella seeks to learn more about Ginny Doyle's personal history - and discovers surprising new truths about her family and, ultimately, about herself.

I must say that I absolutely loved this book. In my opinion, it was just a wonderful book; beautifully written and seamlessly woven together. Both Ginny's and Majella's stories were equally compelling for me to read, despite the centuries that separated both women. I'm definitely putting Ms. Cummins' name at the top of my wishlist, and I would certainly give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

1 comment:

  1. Nice review.

    I really enjoyed this book.

    Thanks for sharing.


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