Jess McConkey’s novel, The Widows of Braxton County, explores over a century’s worth of dark secrets in an Iowa farm family. When Kate Krause relinquishes her city life to move to her new husband’s 140 year old farm, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. And it’s more than just a cranky mother-in-law and long days doing back-breaking, unfamiliar chores. The Krause family is harboring a secret, one the whole town has been speculating about for decades. Kate finds herself drawn into a chain of mysterious and dangerous events, as she is haunted by a death that occurred long before her time.
Kate Krause, and her 19th century counterpart, Hannah Krause are both abused women, and I always find stories about abusive relationships difficult to read. They make me angry – and I don’t always want to be angry when I’m reading a novel. Nevertheless, I love historical novels, and I especially enjoy those (like this one) that show how the past influences the future. McConkey conveys life on the farm in the 1800’s through flashbacks, showing just how difficult daily living was for farmer’s wives in those times. The author resides in a small Iowa town herself, and her descriptions paint a vivid picture of life in both eras.
Thanks to TLC Tours for the opportunity to read this book.