I'm extremely proud to be part of The Mill River Redemption blog tour, organized by the publisher.
Author: Darcie Chan
Series: Mill River
Published: August 26th 2014
Lenght: 388 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Having unexpectedly lost her husband and lacking the means to support herself, Josie DiSanti and her two daughters take refuge in the small town of Mill River, to live with Josie's aunt, Ivy. The sisters, Rose and Emily, are inseparable growing up - until a shocking tragedy tears them apart.Years later, Rose and Emily return to Mill River for the reading of their mother's will, where they learn that Josie would do anything to force their reconciliation: the sisters must move into neighbouring houses for the summer and work together to locate the key to Josie's safe deposit box, which contains their inheritance. And so, left with no choice, Rose and Emily reluctantly begin their search. But in a place known for its magic and miracles, little do they know that an even greater treasure awaits them . . .
It’s quite obvious that I’m a huge Maeve Binchy fan, and now I’m a huge Darcie Chan fan as well. Her prose is elegant and rich with emotion, her setting warm and familiar and the characters… oh, those characters. There are no words, even from a linguist like myself.
Chan paints Mill River to absolute perfection: not only the streets and the buildings, but the charming little community as well. This is her second book in this little town, a companion novel of sorts that can function very well as a standalone. (I myself have not read the first book yet.) As I understand, some of the secondary characters had a more important role in the previous book and the community was well established long before now.
The narrative itself jumps back and forth in time between 1983, when the newly widowed Josie arrived to Mill River with her two small daughters; and 2013, when she died and left a will designed to force the estranged sisters to communicate. The entire story is told in third person, from multiple perspectives, and the feel of it is similar to old realism authors like Flaubert and Balzac, without the excruciating details, of course. I’d go so far as to say that Mill River Redemption reads like classic literature in many ways,
The title says it all, I suppose. This is a story about two sisters’ long journey in different directions and back again. After years apart, Emily and Rose are forced to spend time together by their dead mother’s last wish, but years of silence aren’t so easy to overcome. Chan doesn’t give us easy solutions, though, nor does she offer absolutes. Forgiveness is hard to give, but often even harder to receive.
I was thoroughly impressed by Rose, not her actions or her personality, but the fabulous complexity of her character. It takes great courage to seek forgiveness, and Rose simply lacked that courage for the longest time so she chose to hide behind meanness and snide remarks. I felt that her inner battles and motivations were far more difficult to comprehend than Emily’s and I enjoyed solving the puzzle that was Rose Frye.
Please allow me to make this quite clear, even at the risk of repeating myself: Darcie Chan’s The Mill River Redemption is a wonderfully warm and elegant read, a book to be enjoyed with a blanket and a cup of hot tea. It’s very easy to surrender your heart to these characters – mine has yet to recover from the experience.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
Please make sure to visit the other tour stops:
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Thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks to the lovely people at Little, Brown UK for organizing the tour.