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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
A Bend in the Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner is the story of Catherine Henry who lives with her husband and son in Tucson, Arizona. Circumstances force her to return to Willowood to face her family and her son, whom she gave up for adoption as he was the result of a rape. She has to save Michael, her five-year-old who is diagnosed with leukemia, a form resistant to chemotherapy. Doctors tell them that only a bone marrow transplant can save the boy and Catherine knows that it is time to go back to her past. Since blood relatives have the best chance of matching, Catherine has to tell about her 19-year-old son. Her husband, Ben, is shattered when he learns about her past and feels betrayed that she has kept it from him till now. Will Catherine be able to save her dying son? Who comes to her help finally?
The story is poignant and will awaken readers' emotions. The narration switches from the present to the past, connecting Catherine's present to her past. Ben’s feelings of being betrayed and let down are palpable, and Catherine’s guilt about her past and wanting to disassociate from it and start a new life is understandable. There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot which make the story a compelling read. The main character with a hidden past, her childhood problems, and her reasons for admitting to her past, running away from it, and finally going back to it have been woven together beautifully and this gives the story a mysterious vibe. The book will grab the attention of readers right from the first page to the last and the author captures the tension, family life, and small town ambiance perfectly.