okay, but not as engaging as the first in the series
August 28, 2014
While I enjoyed this book, I did not enjoy is as much as the first of the series, Skip Rock Shallows. This book takes place a couple of years after the first and can be read independent of the first (there is enough background). The main character is still Dr. Lily Corbitt in a small coal mining town in Kentucky. The suspense centers around a baby that Lily's friend, Armina, has brought home and a possible crime that her friend witnesses but does not remember what she saw or the baby. There is also a man that is spying on the doctor as well.
There is more suspense in this book but the whole book is at a much slower pace and I found myself not being as engaged. (The first book, I did not want to put down most of the time.) I also felt that I wanted more detail. I still enjoyed the setting and the overall premise but it just didn't deliver as smoothly as the first.
Jan Watson writes such lovely characters, and such real-seeming scenes that I feel as if I'm right there among them. Some of the characters had surprising backstory, and the plot had a few twists. I wanted to hold my breath at times, waiting to see what was next. The story hints at events in previous books, but it isn't distracting and it is well explained so that this book is complete in itself, and it has a satisfying conclusion. I really like this clean, engaging story.
Tattlers Branch is a good historical novel that gives readers an idea of the hardships that were experienced living in the mountains of Kentucky. The main character is Lilly, who is a doctor in a small time. She keeps a busy life taking care of her patients and her younger sister who is visiting for the summer. Then, when her neighbor and friend Armina shows up with a baby and no memory of how she got the baby, mystery buds. As Lilly tries to figure out whose baby it is, how Armina got the baby, a strange man keeps a close eye on the clinic. Who is this strange man and does he have anything to do with the baby? Where did the baby come from and will they find the childs family? How did Armina get the baby and will she recover her lost memories? This was a very good book with the perfect mix of suspense, mystery, and emotion that will keep you turning the pages until you have read the entire book. Once I begun reading, I could not put it down.
Last year, I really enjoyed reading Skip Rock Shallows, the prequel to this book. While each of these two books easily stands on its own, I enjoyed reading about the same characters again and finding out what happened to them. The main character is Lilly, a woman doctor. The book takes place during the 19th century and it is so interesting to read about 19th century ideas concerning medicine, treatments, and opinions on diseases like Down Syndrome and epilepsy--both of which are tackled in this book. The author has definitely done her homework; not only is the story entertaining, but the history included is enough to teach me a thing or two and to whet my appetite for further research. I really enjoy Jan Watson's books and definitely recommend this one!