Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles is a wonderful, captivating piece of southern fiction that will draw you into the lives of its characters, as well as the rural Georgia setting. Miles creates such a strong sense of what Adie, the narrator of Cold Rock River, is up against. No one in Adie's family has been the same since Adie's sister Annie died years ago. The cause of Annie's death is not revealed until the end of the book, but the reader knows it has happened and that it has created a gaping tear in the fabric of the family. When Adie finds herself pregnant at age 17, she marries the father of her baby. She thinks she loves him, but she also sees marriage as her only option. Unfortunately, her husband turns out to be incapable of both marital fidelity and holding a job. What makes Adie and her story special is how she responds to all this misfortune. Adie is unique in that she wants more from life than everyone around her has. She is strong, smart, motivated, and imbued with an endearing integrity. I found myself hoping that Adie could rise above her circumstances. I grew to care about several secondary characters also. I also enjoyed the excerpts from the diary of a liberated slave woman that Adie read and shared with the reader throughout the book. Besides having an air of mystery, the diary became an important element in Adie's compelling story.
About This Item
"A compelling story you won't want to miss! Well told and deeply true to its time and place." -Haywood Smith, author of "Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch "and "The Red Hat Club "
"Even the best-kept secrets must be revealed..."
Seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins is newly married and newly pregnant, though not necessarily in that order. Unready for fatherhood, her skirt-chasing husband isn't much help. But in this stunning tale that redefines intimacy, love, and family, Adie discovers hope where she least expects it: from her sweet neighbor Murphy, from the world-wise midwife Willa Mae, and in the worn pages of the diary of a slave girl-a girl who is much closer to Adie than she thinks.
Praise for "Cold Rock River"
"An intricate novel about the mysterious ways we are all connected in the human endeavors of truth, love, longing, and loss."-Patti Callahan Henry, bestselling author of "When Light Breaks"
"Warm, fresh, funny-the characters leap off the page! Miles is a fascinating new voice in Southern fiction. Readers will rejoice."-Karin Gillespie, author of "Bet Your Bottom Dollar"
"Jackie Lee Miles is a wise and perceptive writer with a keen understanding of human frailties."-Julie Cannon, author of "Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes"
|Number of Pages|
Jackie Lee Miles
Cold Rock River
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
7.90 x 5.30 x 1.10 Inches
Cold Rock River by J.L...
J.L. Miles Cold Rock ...
J.L. Miles' Cold Rock River flows in and out of the past and present of Adie Thacker's life and occasionally transports the reader into the thicket of plantations and slavery near the time of the Civil War. The reader travels along the current of Cold Rock River and hits some brisk rapids and undercurrents, following Adie on her journey. When Adie is a child, her family is the picture of happiness, minus the normal angst among siblings and boy troubles. However, one day their family changes irrevocably. Her father drinks himself into a stupor, while her mother withdraws from her children and her husband. Rebecca, Adie's older sister, falls in love, becomes a mother, and moves out on her own. Clarissa, Rebecca's twin, is the sweetest of the sisters and wallows in food to shut out the pain. Although this story is about her family and how it evolves after a significant loss, the novel also is about family secrets and how those secrets eat up Adie and the family. This beautiful image in Chapter Seventeen, page 162, holds a vast symbolic meaning in relation to this family's struggles and its one of my favorites: Hog Gap and Cold Rock still had the mountain between them with no road cutting through. The only way to get from one spot to the other was to take the two-lane highway that ran around it. In the distance, Cold Rock Mountain rested like a fat king on his throne. The sides sparkled like jewels as the sun bounced off chunks of granite embedded along the edges. Another of my favorite passages in this book is in Chapter Three, on page 33-34, shortly after Adie's mother becomes infatuated with Jackie Kennedy and her husband: Mama was especially crazy about the pillbox hats Jackie wore. "Not every woman can wear them, you know," she said. "Takes a certain bone structure." Whatever type that was, Mama figured she had it. Every one of the dresses she made had its own matching pillbox hat, but they didn't look much like Jackie's. Mama used Pa's baseball caps as a base. She cut the bills off and covered what was left in whatever fabric she was working on at the time. Adie is a bit tough to take at first with her disjointed narrative, but eventually her ramblings endear her to the reader. She struggles as a new wife and mother, particularly when she realizes her husband, Buck, is not as in love with her as she is with him and that his mother, Verna, has secrets of her own and hopes Adie will fail. Miles easily weaves in the slave narrative of Tempe Jordan into Adie's story. Although these stories parallel one another in some ways, the stories shed light on the strength these women share. This is one of those novels that will stay with the reader once the last page is read, and it is now one of my top 5 books from this year.
I loved this story. A...
I loved this story. Adie was so strong through everything that she had to endure. I also enjoyed Tempe's diary, and the way that Willa Mae and Adie's lives were intertwined. J.L. Miles did not disappoint in her second novel...this book is definitely a keeper.
Adie is a character th...
Adie is a character that you can love and still want to kick her in the pants. Her family has it's share of hardships growing up, with a sister that died young and a family secret that is not talked about. As she ages, she marries the wrong man, but stays true to him, even as she realizes that she loves another. Echoing her journey through life is the diary of a slave girl named Tempe who sees more than her fair share of hardship. Compulsively readable, this would be a great selection for a book club.
This was a heartbreaki...
This was a heartbreaking tale at times, neither of the women in this book had it easy. First there is Adie Jenkins, who gets pregnant and marries at 17. But her husband does not leave his wild ways and she is pretty much left to fend for herself most of the time. But she find friendship in her neighbours and one of them, Willa Mae reads from a book. Another heartbreaking tale about a young slave girl who lost her children. The books tells much of Adie's family history and how things happened like they did. Like the loss of her little sister that broke the family in half. Her sisters exploits, and how her other sister started to eat, and eat. And of course her own mistake. But Adie was strong, she would not give up, not even when it looked dark at one time and my heart was in my throat because of he injustice she suffered. But friends, family and that diary helped her along, and she never gave up. The road to happiness is not an easy one. Then there is the diary, I did have problems at first, because of the way it looked, but I got used to it. Of course then there was the other problem of understanding, I had this sometimes in the book too cos of their southern accent.. But I got used to it, I have obviously spent too little time in the south. To the diary, a woman called Tempe is telling her life story. How she grew up on a plantation, how she got used and pushed around, how the war came, and ended and how she set out on a long journey. She had it bad at times, and she still had hope. It was a fascinating story, and it took turns I did not see coming. And at other times I was shaken by the cruelty of their masters. I enjoyed the friendship she formed with Willa Mae, this very old midwife who helps her along, and her next door neighbour Murphy who helps her when she needs it. But he also lets her be independent. Friendship and hope was the best part of this book because it showed the way. The agony of not knowing what was coming next at a certain time in the book made me want to stop reading, but at the same time read on to find out, and wish for the best. I liked how she wove two stories together, about two entirely different women, but who at the same time were very much alike. A tale of the south in the 60's, friendship, loss, love, finding your own way, and a look back at how slaves were treated 100 years before. A different world.
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