Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Bountiful Creek Reviewed by Ginger Simpson
Bountiful Creek by Steven B. Weissman
It seems these days, one has to be an author to understand that not all fictional novels have happy endings. Even though we base our stories on lines we plot or our characters encourage, we often pattern them after real-life events and the endings play out as would the life of the heroes and heroines.
I read with great interest the reviews on Amazon, and it seems I was one of few who reviewed this book and understood and enjoyed the up and down life of Martha Somerville. When an author writes an historical novel, historical facts are the focus of reality, and everything else revolves around them. In this book, although I usually don't enjoy first person, I truly felt the author's passion about his story and the characters who played the main and secondary roles.
If I had one suggestion to pass along, it would be to SHOW the story more to the reader rather than telling it. There was little dialogue in the very beginning, but the story blossomed and made connection with the characters easier toward the end.
Pre-Civil War, Martha desperately wants to marry free-spirited Wilby and settle down, but he has no money and the prospects of his continuing to earn more by selling furs with a war looming are doubtful. Martha accompanies her cousin to Ohio, with plans to urge money from her wealthy aunt, but instead all she finds is hostility from the old bat, who it turns out is an unhappy woman who is punishing the world for her misfortunes in life. Martha sets her straight then has to find a way home before the path is cut off by soldiers. Sadly, her cousin dies on the way back, but her demise wasn't a total surprise, and was well handled, in my opinion.
I was moved to tears by the ending...not because it didn't come with the tidy little bow everyone seems to expect these days, but because I honestly sensed the sadness and loss between two who loved one another, but it didn't work out. I also had a few giggles when Martha told her aunt off, but as most other reviewers on Amazon have pointed out...this story is real, touching, and entertaining. Writing in a telling more than showing style are signs of a new novelist, but I gladly raise my hand to read more by this author, and I've already sent him my "I Dug It" award for his creative ability to spin an interesting tale, and keep me turning pages till the end...especially when I usually read with an editorial eye and the exciting turn of events in each chapter kept me on edge. Not the best written novel I've ever read, but certainly one I'll tell my friends about and urge them to read.