Answer Creek: A Novel
First, she loses her adoptive parents. Then she loses her hope. Then she loses herself.
I knew as soon as I started Answer Creek it would be a powerful book. It had to be. Of all historical events to be written into a novel, surely the Donner Party couldn’t be softened and made palatable for a reading public. I was right, but far more than I expected to be.
For those unfamiliar, the Donner Party was a collection of people headed west to California. After taking what they thought would be a shortcut, they became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains over winter. Without enough food to keep themselves alive, they resorted to cannibalism to survive. Answer Creek doesn’t revel in the gory details, but neither does it gloss over them. It doesn’t gloss over any details. What struck me most as I read it was how openly it showed the grit of westward expansion. There is very little pretty about the lives of the emigrants, but what beauty exists is treasured.
From the brutal first chapter to the denouement, this book captivated me. With its rich sensory details and the varied humanity of its characters, this book is a must-read for fans of historical fiction, and for anyone looking for insight into a period that carved and honed people down to their core.
|Ashley E. Sweeney
|She Writes Press
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