A Bend in the Willow

Fiction - Womens
322 Pages
Reviewed on 03/09/2017
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Author Biography

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program. Susan has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, Our Mothers/Ourselves, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released last summer. Prior to moving to Oregon and writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

    Book Review

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.