If the Creek Don't Rise

Leah Weiss
"[A] striking debut..." -- BUSTLE   "...masterful use of language....Weiss' novel is a great suggestion for fans of the Big Stone Gap books, by Adriana Trigiani, and Mitford series, by Jan Karon."--Booklist, STARRED Review He's gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That's long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby. Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out.  When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline...if she can just figure out how to use it. This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON'T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-04-15
An exceptional book, especially for a first one. It was at times mystical and magical in the Appalachian area surrounding this story. Following Birdie Rocas and Tattler Swann as they work their way up the mountain to dig ginseng and back down again, you realize these people truly have their own way. There's little room for law enforcement or strangers in Baines Creek.

How the author knows these people with strange names and their ways is a mystery to me but she puts us in another time and place in reading If The Creek Don't Rise. There's some real wisdom and some great quotes throughout this well wound story.

I didn't even mention the main characters yet. Each character is well done but the story really centers on the lovely, timid Sadie Blue. The ending caught me off guard. These are characters I'll not soon forget. Very enjoyable to read.
Reviewed: 2017-12-01

My review is broken into two parts: one for the writing, and one for the story. I've averaged out my review to 4-stars because I'd give the actual writing 5, and the story 3. It isn't that the story was bad, but it was almost 300 pages of unrelenting sadness, poverty, despair, illiteracy, etc. I love southern fiction, and don't mind a bit of darkness hovering over it, but this book was too dark to see daylight. With the exception of Kate and possibly the preacher, the characters where either disturbingly evil, or pathetically weak in most cases. As for the actual writing, (subject matter aside) I thought it was terrific. If dark matter is your thing, I believe you will love this book. Leah Weiss spun a wonderful tale, accurately depicted Appalachia as it was in that time period, mastered the dialect, and drew me into their lives. It truly is a wonderful debut novel, heavy darkness aside. It also contains one of the most satisfying last lines I've ever read. I would absolutely love to see more by this author, but would skim through for a ray or two of sunlight before purchasing.

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