A Bend in the Willow


After setting fire to her rapist, Robin Lee Carter ran away from Willowood, Kentucky in 1965 and never looked back. Twenty years later, she is living as Catherine Henry in Tucson, Arizona. When her 5-year-old son is diagnosed with leukemia, neither Catherine nor her husband is a match. Catherine must face her hidden past — and a possible murder charge — in order to find her last surviving family members, a brother she left behind and the now 19-year-old son she gave up for adoption. With her son’s life on the line, Catherine is willing to do anything to save him — but will it be enough?

A five-hanky read, this emotional tale yanks on heartstrings and wrings out emotions while dragging the reader backwards through a tangled hedge. The author does a wonderful job of telling the present-day story while weaving in flashbacks in order to explain Catherine’s past and her reluctance to share her story. However, her continued reticence with her husband begins to irritate and one is more inclined to judge harshly rather than be sympathetic. Catherine’s actions are born of desperation and the way she goes about things is callous, but her emotions spilling across the page are hard to miss. When one runs from an unresolved past, it can never truly be left behind.  "A Bend in the Willow" is a story that sticks long after the last page is read.

A word of caution – there is a flashback of the rape and while there is virtually no description in the scene it may be disturbing to some readers.

Carol Conley