In the lush countryside of Wisconsin, Jean Krenshaw is the ideal 1960’s dairy farm wife. She cooks, sews, raises children, and plans an annual July 4th party for friends and neighbors. But when her brother-in-law Tommy, who lives next door, marries leery newcomer Liz, Jean is forced to confront a ten-year-old family secret involving the unresolved death of a young woman. With stark and swift prose, The Good Divide explores one woman’s tortured inner world, and the painful choices that have divided her life, both past and present, forever. Eric Hoffer Award General Fiction 2017 Winner “VanBaale presents a vivid portrait of one woman’s lifelong struggle to find peace with what she has rather than what she desires. Fiction doesn’t get more real than this.” —Publishers Weekly “This is the book I was waiting to read.” —Laura Kasischke, The Life Before Her Eyes
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hard work and perseverance are the principles of the American farmer. But when that work ethic turns malevolent and perseverance becomes a wicked obsession, we find we are not in Kansas (or in this case, Wisconsin) anymore: we have entered the dark heartland. Kali VanBaale deftly portrays the life of a Midwest farmwife torn between what she has and what she wants—but can never have. She’s rejected the safe, sane world of her husband for his brother, a wild thing. That choice only leads to an unhealthy compulsion, bitter jealousy, and self-destruction. VanBaale’s prose is spare and fluid, with characters that leave their impression on us. She has crafted her plot with devastating twists and turns throughout, and ultimately, a well-played surprise for the reader. Highly recommended.