Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey is a haunting and suspenseful novel about family secrets and how well we really know the people we love.
Kate is looking forward to starting a new life with her new husband, Joseph Krause. She leaves the big city and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years.
Instead of something out of Country Living, Kate finds life on the farm a struggle. She hears gossip from the unfriendly neighbors about the connection between the Krause family and a mysterious death decades before.
As the past creeps into Kate’s present, she’s caught in a web of dangerous, unexplainable events.
Jess McConkey, who is also published under the pseudonym Shirley Damsgaard, is an award-winning writer of short fiction.
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About the Author
Jess McConkey is an award-winning writer of short fiction. She lives in a small Iowa town and is currently working on her next novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A long and winding book about feuding families who are surrounded by secrets from the past that still live on in the present and this new outsider comes in and shakes things up. Poor Kate meets a man online and moves to the middle of nowhere into his family's farm and is thrust into the small town life where there are always eyes watching you and willing to report your going ons to everyone. I was immediately drawn to her and wanted to know how she would react in the situations that she was put through.
I admit, the title initially sucked me in. “Widows of Braxton County” is an entertaining mystery about small-community living. You can never get away from the gossip, even if it's 140 years old! The story was rounded nicely and there wasn't a single moment I found wasted or repetitive. Jess McConkey did an amazing job with her plot and storytelling. I especially liked that we were pulled into a world no one wants to see or be in and we were somewhat given the chance to wonder: what if that was me? What if I had been verbally/physically abused and in a foreign place without any connection to the outside world? It's a loaded question and I liked how the author tackled the issue. If I had any problems it may have been that Kate fell slightly flat for me. I think I wanted more out of her other than a foggy, disjointed past and what I felt to be a staccato personality. In the end though, this is a juicy mystery that I think women would enjoy piecing together with the characters. It raises a lot of questions as well as highlights how history repeats itself, but we're not doomed to relive sins of our fathers (and mothers).
Hannah Krause gets out of bed one night to have a few moments away from her abusive husband, Joseph, who is asleep beside her. She checks on her young son then heads back downstairs and finds the door wide open. Going back to the bedroom she finds Joseph has been murdered. The story jumps to present day with newlyweds Kate and Joe on their way to his farm in the country. She's excited about having a place of their own but upon arriving at the farm she learns her domineering mother in law will be living them, something Joe neglected to mention. The very first night strange things begin to happen and as the days pass Kate realizes she doesn't really know her jerk of a husband at all. The book shifts back and forth from 1890 to present revealing the tumultuous relationship of Hannah and Joseph. With each page the story gets more suspenseful keeping me glued to the book, it flows smoothly back and forth in time. McConkey gives us mystery, romance, and lots of suspense, the characters are realistic, some you will like and others you will totally hate. A haunting tale of family secrets. I loved this book and highly recommend it! 5 out of 5 stars! I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
This was my surprise read for the first quarter of the year. I was surprised to be "hooked" by the first couple of pages. I liked that it took place in Iowa. Kate absolutely loved the idea of love, a family, a homestead on an Iowa farm that had been in the family for over 100 years. That spoke of steadfast family and Kate had always wanted that, but had never experienced anything steadfast. Her grandmother who raised her had only belittled and put her down. Imagine grandma with a very wide mean streak! Kate gave herself over to the man she had met through the web. He was kind, loving and poetic. Somehow he knew how to speak to Kate's heart and convinced her of his love and promise for a bright family future. Joe however, kept a secret until after they were married and Kate was in for one surprise after another. I loved the characters in this book and I loved how the story was told from past to present. The mystery was created with a murder that took place a century ago....was it a curse from the past that haunted Kate's future or was it something more like modern day greed? This story was told with feeling and depth. The characters were interesting and convincing. This was a story of how women were considered as property at one time, definitely not the equals we are today. It was one woman's journey into a life totally unfamiliar with rights of modern day woman, and with her commitment to her marriage and the course of true love.
This book was so great. It was very compelling. There were no weak spots at all. I read it very quickly because it was so interesting.