Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Beside the Still Waters" by Jacqueline T. Lynch Book Review

Four towns, gone. Dismantled slowly while their inhabitants grieve for a history and heritage that has been voted away from them. The present threatens; the future belongs to the fearless.

“Beside the Still Waters” is a family saga based on an actual event which displaced four entire towns in central Massachusetts for the construction of a reservoir. Today, the Quabbin Reservoir provides water for millions of citizens, primarily in the greater Boston area.

Families are divided between those who protest the construction project, those who give up and leave, and those who help to build it. The central character is Jenny, a girl who comes of age facing the extinction of her community, who becomes the guardian of her family’s heritage, and ultimately, the one to decide what happens to them. 

A rift between two brothers, Eli and John Vaughn, at the turn of the 20th Century continues through to the next generation as John tries to use Jenny, Eli’s daughter, in a plot to regain the family farm from Alonzo, who now runs it, who is Jenny's love. John is broke and eager to sell the farm to the state, which is buying up area property for the coming reservoir. Both Alonzo and Eli refuse to sell their properties, and protest removal by eminent domain. Torn between loyalty to her family and heritage, and the allure of a future beyond the valley, Jenny refuses to remain powerless like the men she loves, but looks for a way to take control. A disastrous decision may prove fatal in a race against time.

Beside the Still WatersBeside the Still Waters by Jacqueline T. Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to admit that as far as history, this book could not be beaten.  Jacqueline T. Lynch is an amazing historian, and although her style sometimes seems a little dry, there is real meat in her book.  If you are looking for fluff, don't turn to this book!  It requires your mind to be engaged at all times.  She seamlessly weaves the characters into the book--even though they sometimes come across as two-dimensional.  After finishing this book, I felt like I had learned something about Massachusetts history that I did not know previously.  This book is one of the reasons I love historical fiction--I learn while I read for enjoyment.

There are no sex scenes, and the profanity in the book is relatively mild.  I appreciated the fact that these people had morals, and they went to church.  However, she expertly showed how things began to change even over the course of the time period covered in the book.  I did not feel overly emotional--even when bad things happened--but again, that goes back to the author's writing style.  She is a historian, and her book often reads like a textbook.  That can be good and bad.  I actually feel that reading this book again would be good for me--when I was not up against a deadline.  I believe there is much I missed the first time because this is a definitely a multi-level story.

I received this product through Outburst Media in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Check out the author's website here.


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