The Crooked Branch: A Novel [NOOK Book]


From the national bestselling and highly acclaimed author of The Outside Boy comes the deeply moving story of two mothers—witty, self-deprecating Majella, who is shocked by her entry into motherhood in modern-day New York, and her ancestor, tough and terrified Ginny Doyle, whose battles are more fundamental: she must keep her young family alive during Ireland’s Great Famine.

After the birth of her daughter Emma, the usually resilient Majella ...
See more details below
The Crooked Branch: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99 price


From the national bestselling and highly acclaimed author of The Outside Boy comes the deeply moving story of two mothers—witty, self-deprecating Majella, who is shocked by her entry into motherhood in modern-day New York, and her ancestor, tough and terrified Ginny Doyle, whose battles are more fundamental: she must keep her young family alive during Ireland’s Great Famine.

After the birth of her daughter Emma, the usually resilient Majella finds herself feeling isolated and exhausted. Then, at her childhood home in Queens, Majella discovers the diary of her maternal ancestor Ginny—and is shocked to read a story of murder in her family history.

With the famine upon her, Ginny Doyle fled from Ireland to America, but not all of her family made it. What happened during those harrowing years, and why does Ginny call herself a killer? Is Majella genetically fated to be a bad mother, despite the fierce tenderness she feels for her baby? Determined to uncover the truth of her heritage and her own identity, Majella sets out to explore Ginny’s past—and discovers surprising truths about her family and ultimately, herself.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Two women, separated by almost three centuries and a great famine become the center of this multigenerational, transatlantic novel about motherhood, responsibility, and abiding guilt. Advance word is most encouraging. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

From the Publisher
“Even before you come to care about Jeanine Cummins’ rich and intricately drawn characters, before you become enmeshed in her skillfully tangled plot lines about the hard and wondrous task of mothering children in times both catastrophic and ordinary…Before any of that, this is what you have to look forward to: the first page, Ms. Cummins’ luminous prose, and that feeling we’re all hoping to find when we sit down to read: ‘This is it—a book I’m going to love.’”—Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel and The Nobodies Album

“The Crooked Branch explores motherhood, holding onto sanity as life adjusts with a new baby, tilling into that always rich ground of mothers and daughters. Beginning in the famine of Ireland and ending in present-day New York, the story gathers momentum and weight as it unfolds, like watching a freight train thunder along the rails filled with the priceless things of life. As heartbreaking as it is heartening, the story of mothers and what they will do for their babies, touches all the tender places with exquisite timing. Jeanine Cummins is such a good writer. Can't wait to read what she writes next!”—Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon's Oak and Finding Casey

“What an entertaining and moving novel! Though I’ve long known my own ancestors left Ireland because of the devastating potato famine, I never knew much about the history until now. Cummins begins with the utterly relatable Majella, a witty New Yorker struggling with new motherhood and its secret isolation; and sweeps us across the ocean and through time to Ginny, a desperate Irish mother doing her best to support her family. Cummins weaves an exploration of the fierce, primal love of motherhood that connects us all through generations.”—Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife

“Jeanine Cummins knows that there are stories beneath the stories, and she uses this brilliant knowing to weave a tale that is lyrical, emotional and often funny. This extraordinary novel reminds us how motherhood can make us feel as though we are coming undone while also being remade. Majella and Ginny navigate motherhood with a fierce love that propels the story forward with intense strength. Brilliant, vulnerable and intense, The Crooked Branch pierced my heart and paused my breath.”—Patti Callahan Henry, author of Coming Up for Air and Driftwood Summer

“Exploring the effect of a secret from the past on a woman who is truly on the edge—of motherhood, of her future, of sanity, of happiness—Jeanine Cummins has written a story that truly resonates. Insightful, suspenseful, and sometimes bitingly funny, with characters the reader will think about for weeks, this bittersweet novel is emotional and immensely satisfying.”—Simone St. James, author of An Inquiry into Love and Death

 “The Crooked Branch is a haunting tale of motherhood and the ways in which it can ravage—and resurrect. Cummins's vivid prose and compelling story are burned in my heart.”—Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and In Need of a Good Wife

 “The Crooked Branch is a gorgeous, sweeping novel, equal parts harrowing and hilarious, that grips you from the first page and keeps you in its thrall. Two wildly different stories—a new mother in present-day Queens, a woman struggling to survive and feed her children during the Irish famine—are beautifully woven together, bound by a ferocious mother’s love that echoes across generations.”—Carolyn Turgeon, author of Godmother


Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101615072
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 117,161
  • File size: 850 KB

Meet the Author

More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Robin Book provided by the publisher for review Revi

    Reviewed by Robin
    Book provided by the publisher for review
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

    A number of years ago when my two boys (who are now grown men, well they like to think they are) were young boys, I had stayed up to watch the movie ‘IT’ by Stephen King. Having finished watching the entire movie rather late, I might add, I found that sleep just wouldn’t come to me. Instead I could see the clowns running around in my house and I feared for the boys. So instead of sleep I kept getting up to check on them eventually sleeping on their floor to protect them from any monsters that might harm them.

    What does this have to do with my review you ask? Well, there are times when our mind gets the better of us and we can actually talk ourselves into things that others would find somewhat farfetched. As a mother we tend to do things others wouldn’t think of because we feel that it is our way of looking out for our families. We have good intentions but sometimes they don’t work out the way we have it mapped out in our head. Ms. Cummings did a wonderful job at getting across two different views of two very strong women that find that their lives are parallel in a way and how they cope with the day to day struggles of dealing with raising their children; fighting for survival of life and what it costs us as women.

    We first meet Majella a new mom who has just had a daughter. Dealing with postpartum depression she dreams of that her young daughter Emma is dead. This alone can be scary because if she were to go off the deep end she could actually harm her daughter. Her husband Leo is a chef in Queens, and things are a little stained between them. Ms. Cummings made Majella seem a little self-absorbed and with a bit of a bratty attitude (oh woe is me) that I had a little bit of trouble with. One night unable to sleep Majella finds her in the attic where she comes across a diary from a relative from Ireland that lived during the potato famine. I loved the simple ways that Ms. Cummings intertwined these two women’s lives making them seem very believable. Every struggle that Majella and Ginny go through, every twist in their young lives was so well written that it drew you in making you think of your own struggles as a young mother.

    I found that I was more drawn to Ginny because I would like to think that I too have made my family (husband and sons my number one priority). There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do to make sure that they have all the comforts they need even if it means that I go without. For Ginny in order to put food on the table in times when there wasn’t much of anything and death was all around she endured allot just to survive. She was a strong woman that I want to strive and be like. Whereas Majella was more about her, showing us that how she was feeling and how she was not able to cope very well with the whole aspect of birth. It tended to be all about her. At times I would find that I wanted to skip over Majella just to get to Ginny.

    This fast paced, emotional story about the difficult relationships of women and about women was raw. The characters were so well written that you couldn’t help but feel the gamete of emotions that they were struggling with on a day to day basis. I enjoyed the historical facts within the story they helped in bringing Ginny’s struggles to life. Majella is a little more soul searching as she has to make the decision to leave her job and stay at home; while deals with the depression and mental issue that run in her family. Two women, two different eras, two struggles; different yet the same… A story that will have you emotionally drained, touching your heart and making you want to share this story with your friends. You don’t have to be a mother to feel the power, just being a woman is enough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013


    An abandoned badger set, with a large number of ledges due to tree roots. A seperate area in the den is laid out for sick cats, away fro th injured ones, to prevent disease.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)