Sunday, September 30, 2007
72. "The River Wife" - Jonis Agee
Annie Lark's Missouri house pins her to her bed after a horrendous earthquake of biblical proportions; in fact, her family leaves her there while trying to save their own lives. In 1811, they believe this is a sign of God's displeasure, but all Annie wants is a drink of water and relief from the pain in her legs.
A French trapper, scavenging the empty homes, finds and frees her from imminent death. They live together as man and wife through years in sod houses until he builds a farm on the river called Jacques' Landing. Her stumbling about on the thonk-thonk of crutches is powerful enough to imprint itself on future generations.
This book stretches between the time of Annie to other lovers of Jacque after Annie dies. They all write their stories in a journal that the "modern" woman - Hedie from the 1930s bootlegger time - reads and frets over. All of the women write about the ghost of Annie, limping away on her crutch, peeking in the windows at stressful times.
It's a mammoth production, as broad in scope as it is in depth. The women are all different in attitudes, gratitudes, and platitudes, but all are fallen by their love for the wrong men.
Beautiful descriptions and plotting throughout. Finally, a book I'm pleased to review.
4.0 out of 5.0 Divine Guiness.