If The Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss Book Review
The lowdown from Goodreads
Publish date August 22, 2017
A strikingly sincere portrait of a town and its buried secrets from an outstanding new voice in southern fiction.
In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.
As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons. The folks of Baines Creek will take you deep into the mountains with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
If The Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss Book Review
I don’t know where to begin with this review. This book was something extra special and completely compelling. I’ll try to describe the beauty of this book, even if words fail me.
In the mountains of North Carolina, Sadie Blue is seventeen, pregnant and newly married to a monster – much to her grandmother’s disapproval. They say love is blind and Sadie is proof of that. Roy is evil and abusive, leaving Sadie battered and bruised immediately after the marry. As we learn more about Sadie, her absent mother, and most importantly her Granny, we begin to understand this family. The reader begins to see how a young girl can get wrapped up in a nobody of a boy with nothing but nastiness inside of him.
Then one day, a teacher from the valley arrives in Baines Creek. A complete outsider determined to make her new life and new little school a success. Kate Shaw slowly earns the trust of some in the community, but not all. Preacher Perkin,s sister, Prudence, is determined to drive Kate back down to the valley disgraced. But Kate is a strong woman who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and she knows she can make a difference in the lives of these poverty-stricken children. I think, perhaps, one of my favorite aspects of this story was Birdie and Kate’s friendship development. Oh, Birdie, I just loved her. Her witchy, earthy wisdom was fascinating to read about. She is a great example of what type of people made up Baines Creek!
Told in alternating first-person narrative, the reader really gets to know these (mostly) wonderful and gritty characters. Weiss does an amazing job of making the reader feel connected to each of them. I never wanted this story to end!
I totally fell in love with Sadie Blue! Her fighting spirit is admirable; a strength she didn’t know she had. The day she finally decided that things could be different for her life; that her surroundings and circumstances didn’t have to debilitate her forever, that there is something out in the world for her was so inspiring to witness!
I absolutely adored this beautifully moving and heartfelt and at times heartbreaking book. Leah Weiss captures so eloquently the very essence of her characters and the mountain community they call home. I truly felt connected to each of them, and I hated to say goodbye as I turned the last page. This is a brilliant debut by an author I hope never puts down her pen! If you love southern fiction then you’ll be Really Into This gem!!
To read more reviews from Kim, check out her page here.
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My roots are deep, simple and southern. They begin in the flat lands of North Carolina where my mama was born, to the mountains of Virginia, home of my daddy’s family, where I’ve lived the last four decades. I was influenced by my mother’s simple upbringing on a farm and her ability to see “rich” where others saw “poor.” My dad’s people were the artists, a granddad who was a violinist, my namesake Leah who designed her clothes and laid a brick patio by herself. Both sides of my family tree were self-sufficient, hard working with humble dreams.
I came to the craft of writing in my mid-fifties and started with a subject close to my heart—memoirs about my mom, Lucy, and her extraordinary, simple life. Then I segued into fiction, attending writing conferences and workshops, haunting bookstores and studying my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didn’t sell and a string of short stories that did.
Eventually, I found the writing voice that is reflected in my first published novel. It’s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.