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Silver's Reviews

Also the owner of:  http://silversolara.blogspot.com I enjoy reading historical fiction and mystery. I live in Pennsylvania and am a retired business teacher.



The Crooked Branch

The Crooked Branch: A Novel - Jeanine Cummins
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.
Source: http://silversolara.blogspot.com