Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Crooked Branch by Jeanine Cummins


Publication date is:  March 5, 2013

Could it be true?  Could Majella have inherited the "crazy" gene from her mother's ancestors?
From present-day New York and then back to Ireland in the 1800's, THE CROOKED BRANCH, covers a family's history and tells of a mother's love as well as the heartaches it brings.  Majella, the New York mother, and Ginny, the Irish mother, are distant relatives but share the same things every mother wants for her children and also all of the things a mother fears about motherhood and raising a family.  Majella is experiencing a fear of having a family link of craziness after she read of a murder committed by her mother's great-grandmother, Ginny, in a diary she found hidden inside the hem of a dress in the attic of her childhood home.

THE CROOKED BRANCH takes the reader through the potato famine in Ireland to present-day New York.  The book allows you to spend a day with Majella in New York and then back to a day in Ginny's life during the potato famine in Ireland.  You will follow Majella as she struggles with being a stay-at-home mom dealing with postpartum depression.  Both women have their families uppermost in their minds with Majella also struggling with her relationship with her own mother. You will follow Ginny as her family struggles to stay alive because there is no food in Ireland and where people are dying on a daily basis.  You will follow Ginny as she has to bear the pain of leaving her four young children alone to find work as a chambermaid in an estate that won't allow her to go home at night and whose mistress becomes involved in Ginny's family life. 
 
The book is fast paced and has detailed descriptions of the characters, the scenes, and the character's feelings.   I enjoy books that go back and forth in time and especially ones that tell of written accounts from ancestors...especially diaries and also in this case a recording by Ginny's son telling of the events in Ireland and their passage to New York.  I was quickly pulled into this moving historical fiction book through Ginny's story.  

Ginny's story was much more appealing than Majella's perhaps because of the historical aspect, while Majella tugged more at the heartstrings of modern-day mothers who have to deal with leaving the work force and becoming an isolated, stay-at-home mom.  The tale was a bit humdrum through Majella's story, but quite fascinating during Ginny's.

My rating is 4/5.  

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


23 comments:

  1. The historical aspect kept me reading.

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  2. Hello there, I just wanted to let you know that you've been nominated for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, for more information click here. http://laurynapril.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award.html

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  3. I like stories with dual narratives, so this sounds interesting to me.

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  4. Sounds great--I like cross-generational stories, and after reading Brooklyn, have been eager to read more stories set in Ireland.

    Lots of characters, and plot twists too!

    Great post.

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  5. I'm glad to hear that it sucks you in right away and it's a page-turner. I'll be reading it very soon. I'll probably find Ginny's story more intriguing, too; when there's a past/present shift in the narrative, I generally find the story in the past to be most interesting.

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  6. Elizabeth, thanks for being such a great supporter of Books You Loved. Cheers

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  7. Hello Elizabeth - visiting again after reading Carole's Books You have Loved. This sounds intriguing, I like the Irish connection.

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  8. Oooh, Ireland -- this definitely sounds like a story I would enjoy! I like stories with dual narratives, though I often favor one (usually the historical versus the modern) over the other.

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  9. I liked the historical narrative so much more than the narrative for current day. :)

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  10. I've not heard of this book but it sounds really interesting. Glad you enjoyed it. I will have to keep an eye out for it myself.

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  11. Great title, too! This sounds very interesting, and a bit heartbreaking as well.

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  12. Great review, I think I may check this book out in the near future.
    Regards,

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  13. A hidden diary, dual narrative, and Ireland! I have to find this book!

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  14. Very interesting review of what sounds like a very worthy book. I'm not familiar with the writer, but I do love historical fiction. I'll definitely check it out.

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  15. Probably not a book I would have normally taken notice of, but that is why personal reviews are such a good thing you can get persuaded to pick up something out of your comfort zone to read
    Thanks for visiting my book review :D

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  16. This sounds like a great narrative and setting. I think if like you I had been given the opportunity to review this I would have said yes.

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  17. I too enjoy books that alternate between time periods. I think it adds a little more suspense to the story. The Crooked Branch sounds like a good read. Thanks for visiting me @ The Key to the Gate.
    Rebecca

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  18. Elizabeth, thanks for directing me to your blog. This books sounds awesome...

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  19. Oh, I love stories set in Ireland.
    And the story sounds really good too.

    Thanks for the great review! :)

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  20. Hello Elizabeth,
    This certainly looks like a very interesting story. I'll be on the lookout for it. :)

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  21. This story sounds amazing! I am definitely going to read it. Great review!

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  22. I definitely want to read this - storylines set in Ireland and in NY. And an immigrant theme!

    Thanks for the review.

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