This historically based novel was a great read. When I first picked it up in May of this year (it was gifted to me) I thought, “Well I know what I’ll be reading the rest of the summer,” but surprisingly I finished all 848 pages by the end of June, and I did not have one bored moment reading about the daily lives of Craig Ridgeway and the McDonnell family, fictional early settlers in Kentucky along the Ohio River.
Widder’s Landing was not like other epic novels I have read, where the story spans generations and even countries (aka Ken Folletts’ trilogies) and there are so many characters that one has trouble keeping up with them. Instead Price’s story follows only two families, and takes place from 1811 – 1815, all very manageable. My favorite character was the cantankerous carpenter, Levi Matthews. The villains were few and far between, and vanquished before they caused too much damage. The real adversaries in this novel was nature, in the form of storms and earthquakes, which, by the way, really took place in 1811 and 1812 in the continental United States; and war, specifically the War of 1812.
I liked the way Price went into great detail about everything that a farmer had to do just to keep his land producing and his animals cared for. I was never left wondering, as I am prone to do when I read most novels, “How did they do that?” or “That wouldn’t work,” or my most common reaction “That don’t make sense.” Also Price is a skillful storyteller, weaving the thread of his tale through multiple places and people, causing the reader to be invested in each character. I had a hard time putting the book down each night. The novel never dragged or got boring, even during the last chapters when Craig and the McDonnells head down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to join General Andrew Jackson to fight the British in New Orleans.
And because Price is such a good teacher I actually read every page and every paragraph about the battles, (I am prone to skipping whole pages of battle descriptions) learning just how much I did not know about that war. For those who love a good long read with romance and adventure, great characters and no unnecessary graphic violence; a story that is historically accurate and full of facts, this book if for you. [On Amazon.com] Read more about Eddie Price and his work on his site EddiePriceKentuckyAuthor.com or follow him on Facebook.
NOTE: I am now reading Eddie Price’s second book, One Drop a Slave, which follows many of the same characters.