I am such a sucker for a character-driven novel. As much as I love a story with a fast-paced plot and plethora of twists, every so often I enjoy the decadence of curling up with a story that is full of strong characters and pushed by their emotions and actions. I love to get lost in their lives. If the Creek Don’t Rise, the debut novel by Leah Weiss, did exactly that.
The novel opens with the introduction of Sadie Blue, a pregnant and newly married teenager whose husband turns abusive the minute they are married. Bruised and broken, Sadie retreats back home to her grandmother. Through alternating POVs from various members of their small Appalachian town, Sadie’s story unfolds.
As a novel categorized as a historical fiction, I was little bit worried when I started my reading but I was pleased that this one didn’t feel too out of touch. I often find some historical fiction hard to digest, but, as I read this one, I didn’t feel that way at all. Weiss does a brilliant job at creating a piece that is historically accurate as well as inviting. I loved the touches of the dialect and I loved the narrative style. From the first pages, I was drawn into and loved the female-centric narrative; for a majority of the story, a key woman in the plot narrates each chapter. I thought this was so interesting and original, especially given context of the story and the time period it is written in. Women, pretty obviously within this plot, did not have a real voice and Weiss chooses to give their voices a chance to be heard entirely.
My favourite character was Gladys Hicks. She was my absolute favourite. I imagined her like Annaslise Keating’s mother in How to Get Away With Murder. A little sassy, a whole lot honest and carrying loads of secrets.
I also loved the Deep South setting within this story; I am not from the South, nor have I ever traveled there, but I felt as if Weiss did a fantastic job at making this story come alive. Her descriptions were rich and raw; I felt like I should have been sitting on a porch swing drinking some sweet tea.
Not a traditional mystery or thriller at all, but I did love the tension within the plot and I was equally as intrigued as when I am solving a mystery. I feel like if you are a fan of the character-centric story or enjoy the subtleties of historical fiction, you will enjoy this one!