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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
A compelling historical novel with a setting in 1916, Beneath the Willow by Michael J Murphy plunges the reader into a world ravaged by war. It's against this backdrop that the author weaves a narrative that explores the horrors of war, with powerful hints of a psychological thriller and strong themes of love, war, and family. Clarence Miller returns from war with the hopes of giving a fresh start to his family, but he is a haunted man and his inner demons threaten to tear his family apart. Amidst a painful tragedy, redemption may come from a least expected path; a young woman from Clarence's past.
This novel has a lot of merit and potential to entice fans of historical events. The author's depiction of New South Wales after the war is powerful and this backdrop allows for the emergence of characters that are sophisticated, and it also justifies the psychological and emotional depths of the characters. Backstory is brilliantly crafted, the conflict phenomenal, offering powerful insights into the minds of people who have experienced the trauma of war. Clarence is a well-sculpted character who will arouse feelings of empathy in the reader. Michael J Murphy is a master of the craft with keen storytelling skills. He uses suspense to get readers engaged and creates surprises that are as unpredictable as they are delightful. Beneath the Willow is a great achievement, a work that features exquisite prose, memorable characters, and plot intricacies that make for a perfect page-turner. Beneath the Willow is entertaining and hard to put down.