By Darcie Chan
Publication date: 6/17/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
The sensational New York Times bestseller The Mill River Recluse reminds us that friendship, family, and love can come from the most unexpected places. Perfect for fans of Maeve Binchy.
From the outside, Mill River looks like any sleepy little Vermont town where everyone knows everyone and people never need to lock their doors. There are newcomers for whom this appeals, from police officer Kyle Hansen and his daughter Rowen, who are starting over after heartache, to Claudia Simon, the schoolteacher who is determined to reinvent herself.
But on closer inspection, there are those in Mill River—including a stealthy arsonist, a covetous nurse, and a pilfering priest—who have things they wish to hide. None more than the widow Mary McAllister, who for the past sixty years has secluded herself in her marble mansion overlooking the town. Most of the residents have never even seen the peculiar woman. Only the priest, Father O’Brien, knows the deep secrets that keep Mary isolated—and that, once revealed, will forever change the community.
A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
"I fell in love with this story, the author, the town, and the characters!" This mysterious mansion drew me in from the front cover, along with these intriguing characters, especially, Mary and Father O’Brien. Your heart goes out to this woman, living a sheltered life, yet able to touch so many lives with her goodwill, even in the next upcoming book (from the grave). Shifting back and forth from past to present, Chan takes us back to the era of the fifties and sixties. A time when options were limited, for those suffering from social anxiety disorders--except mental institutions, which would have been detrimental in this case with such a delicate and fragile woman. When combined with physical abuse, there were even less options for these victims --a lack of support, education, and protection, especially ones fighting against wealthy and powerful families. Thankfully, in Mary’s case, she has two allies – Father O’Brien and her husband’s grandfather, Conor. Anxiety disorders are the most common emotional disorders, annually affecting more than 20 million Americans (about one in nine). In Mary’s case, one of post-traumatic stress disorder (occurring in individuals who have survived a severe or terrifying physical or emotional event), interfering with her daily functioning. Even today’s alarming statistics, one in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, and an alarming (60%) of rapes are never reported to authorities. On a humorous note, some readers will also relate to the time between 1953 and 1968, transitioning from black- and- white television, to color—recalling the excitement, and will enjoy the TV show mentions. Darcie Chan, writes from the heart-- Her passion is reflective throughout the pages, of this thought-providing novel of life lessons learned. Be sure and visit the author’s website to learn the inspiration behind The Mill River Recluse-- the majesty of the Cornwell mansion, and the generosity and kindness of one man. Fans of Emilie Richards, Beth Hoffman, Donna Ball, Nancy Thayer, Joanne Demaio, Wendy Wax, Susan Wiggs, Patti Callahan Henry, Karen White, Shelly Noble, and Lisa Wingate will enjoy Chan’s warmhearted style and rich characters, you will not soon forget. Goodreads
Congrats to the winners of THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE Book Giveaway!
These special books are standalone reads; however, trust me, you will want to read both, as some of the characters live on, in this engaging family saga of two sisters!
The Mill River Redemption
Series: Mill River #2 8/26/2014
The Promise of Home
Series: Mill River #3 8/4/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars +