Title: The Last River Child
Author: Lori Ann Bloomfield
Publisher: Second Story Press
Source: Personal Copy
An old legend changes the life of one little girl and her family. Seth Staynor, his wife Rose and their two daughters, Peg and Sarah live in a quaint little town called Walvern. The small town people strongly believe in a well known legend. A legend Seth warned his wife about when she moved to the town a few days before their wedding. The Magurvey River which runs through Walvern is believed to have a spirit trapped beneath the water. A child that is drawn to the river may become a victim to the evil spirit, and allow the spirit to live on through the child. The town believes a river child is destined to bring bad luck and destruction to those around her.The towen firmly believes Rose's youngest daughter is a river child. As a result, Peg Staynor becomes the town outcast. Her mother becomes frustrated with the ridiculous legend and her father, unfortunately begins to join the town in their beliefs. During Peg's baptism, a meteorite lands on earth and barely misses the church. On the day war is declared, her mother suddenly dies. Each mishap in the Staynor's lives are blamed on innocent Peg. Peg is constantly aware of the town shunning her. Peg has a great ability to endure. She is compassionate, diligent and determined. Once her mother dies, Peg takes on her mother's responsibilities. Her sister Sarah, is a reckless wild child. Sarah's only concern in life is her own happiness. Peg tries to hold her family together during a world war that has no foreseen end in sight. The men are enlisting in what they believe will be a short, glorious war. Rose believed Peg would eventually leave Walvern to start new. However, Peg loves her town and has no intention of leaving. After the death of Rose, her father begins to retreat in side himself and begins to frequently disappear, Peg hold steady and observes her family while beginning a secret friendship with an inspiring aviator. Peg's friendship and letters to a soldier gives Peg an incredible amount of strength. Readers will learn never to under estimate the town outcast.
Every once in a while, you come across a book that you don't want to put down but don't want to finish. You want to savour every paragraph, sentence and word. This is a book I kept thinking about and would patiently wait to have a few minutes to read. Lori Ann Bloomfield has created a remarkable story. A story that came alive for me. Reading about the World War from a Canadian perspective was very interesting. I felt for the homesick men who had been away from home for years. Once the war had ended they returned home different men. Each character stood out, and evoked emotions in me. I felt for Peg, was frustrated by stubborn Sarah, and I was initially disgusted at Seth. When Peg's mother died, I was very concerned for Peg and Sarah. I knew Peg's only ally was no longer around to help her. This is a book I highly recommend. This book was a pleasant surprise.