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Released: January 2017
ISBN: 9781370816842
ASIN: B01N0HL432
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A BEND IN THE WILLOW
Author: Susan Clayton-Goldner
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Price: $4.99

Willowood, Kentucky 1965 - Robin Lee Carter sets a fire that kills her rapist, then disappears. She reinvents herself and is living a respectable life as Catherine Henry, married to a medical school dean in Tucson, Arizona.

In 1985, when their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, Catherine must return to Willowood, face her family and the 19-year-old son, a product of her rape, she gave up for adoption.

She knows her return will lead to a murder charge, but Michael needs a bone marrow transplant. Will she find forgiveness, and is she willing to lose everything, including her life, to save her dying son?

Excerpt
Willowood, Kentucky—1954

I was seven years old the first time I wished him dead. I remember everything about that cloudless February day. The sky had a dazzling light to it, the kind that bounced off snowdrifts and caught the sparkle in the spider web frost on the school bus windows. It was the kind of light that made dreams seem possible. Even for me. The bus smelled like tangerines, wet wool, and half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches left in lunchboxes.

I scooted closer to the window so Nancy couldn’t see me slip my hand inside my book bag to finger the pink envelope where Wayne Stafford had printed my full name with a heart drawn around it. Robin Lee Carter. As soon as I finished my chores I planned to paint a snowman card with a heart, instead of a carrot, for a nose.

Nancy poked me in the shoulder. “You got a secret in there?”

I shook my head. Nancy Preston and I swore we’d never keep secrets from each other. But this was a new feeling and I didn’t have the words to explain it yet, even to my best friend.

When the doors swung open on Bear Hollow Road, a string of yelping kids hopped from the bottom step and raced toward the sleds they’d left at the crest of the hill. I caught up with Wayne and touched his sleeve. “May I ride your sled?” I was careful to use the proper verb.

Wayne grinned, but before he could say yes, Peggy Thompson, in her red coat with black fur cuffs, stuck her prissy face close to my ear and whispered, loud enough for him to hear, “Robin Lee is nothing but dirty junkyard trash.”

Wayne’s gaze settled on his galoshes before he turned and ran toward the hill.

I stood up real straight, lifted my chin like Momma always said, and pretended it didn’t matter. Although my clothes weren’t as new and fancy as Peggy’s, they were always clean and well-mended.

I wanted to brag about the card Wayne had given me, but instead I held my nose and glared at Peggy. “You have cooties and your breath smells like dog poop.”

She gasped, stuffed her hands into a fur muff that hung from a braided cord around her neck, and marched away, her finger curls bobbing with each step.

Nancy slapped her palm over her mouth to hold in the giggles, but she couldn’t hide the sparkle in her blue eyes. Her mom worked on Tuesdays and Thursdays and paid my momma to babysit after school. I loved those two days better than any other. Even my daddy seemed happier. But today was Wednesday. I waved to Nancy, then ran toward my house, anxious to get the laundry hung so I could paint the snowman card.

Halfway up the drive, I spotted Daddy’s pickup truck parked at a funny slant, its front tires in the flowerbed Momma had covered with pine needles for the winter. Right away, I figured he’d been drinking. My heart thumped, but not in the good way it had when I found Wayne’s valentine. Daddy’s drinking moods were dangerous, like someone sprayed poison into the air. I knew my life was different, and sometimes knowing that was like skin pinched inside the teeth of a zipper.

What the reviewers are saying
. . . why can't the genius of Hollywood find a storyteller like Clayton-Goldner and give us films rich with human emotion and stories that captivate our hearts? . . . I have recommended the book to all of my friends and I would recommend it to you as well. Characters like Robin Lee Carter are intricate puzzles of humanity allowing us to glimpse some parts of ourselves and others we know. Characters that allow us believability and make a work of fiction grab you by the heart. We feel her struggles and pain and we empathize, sympathize, and finally allow ourselves the luxury of belief. A Bend in the Willow is such a fitting title as it describes what many of us experience, the path of life is not straight, it has many bends, curves, switchbacks, and, unfortunately, some dead ends. I strongly encourage you to partake on this journey with Robin Lee Carter (Catherine Henry) and follow the bend of the willow. It is most assuredly a Good Read! ~ Randy Troyer, Goodreads

• • •

Susan Clayton-Goldner sure knows how to write a page turner! Once I started this book, I had a hard time putting it down. The book had an intriguing story and a gripping plot. The main characters lives converged in a thought-provoking and insightful look at the emotional trauma resulting from violence in families. I highly recommend this book. ~ Katy Barloon, Goodreads

• • •

This is a powerful story, full of conflict and emotion. The characters gripped my heart from the beginning and never let go. It's definitely a keeper, one I'll want to read again. ~ Barbara Warren, Goodreads

• • •

Its a fabulous read, a story that so full of drama and emotion, made me cry, and the characters felt like people I knew. I’d intended reading part way and then back to a lighter read, as I’d just come off a similar great but heavy story. However I was so engrossed, so caught up in Catherine's world that I couldn't leave it until I knew how things were going to work out . . . Its a book I felt really sad to leave but was happy at the ending . . . a wonderfully realistic, emotional, drama filled story. ~ Jeannie Zelos, Goodreads

• • •

I have just spent the last two nights reading this book. I could not put it down, I had to keep turning the page to see what was going to happen next. This book is a real tear jerker. The author has made her characters very believable and personalized each one with both subtle and overt words and/or deeds that make them seem like someone that you may know. ~ Diana, Goodreads

 

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