"Tattler's Branch" is set in 1911 in the mountains of Kentucky. I enjoyed being transported back in time while I read this book. I had to "Google" a couple of terms, but I really enjoyed reading "Tattler's Branch". It was a different type of book for me since it isn't a romance, but a mystery.
This is what the back of the book has to say about it:
"Lilly Corbett Still has grown to love her life as the small-town doctor of Skip Rock, a tiny coal community in the Kentucky mountains. Though her husband, Tern, is away for a few months at a mining job, Lilly has her hands full with her patients and her younger sister visiting for the summer.
Lilly turns to her good friend and neighbor, Armina, to help keep things in order-until a mysterious chain of events leaves Armina bedridden and an abandoned baby on her doorstep. Lilly works to uncover the truth, unaware of what a mess she's found herself in until a break-in at her clinic puts her on high alert. As she struggles between what is right and what is safe, Lilly must discover the strength of her resilient country neighbors, her God, and herself."
Tattler's Branch is actually the 7th in a series of books by Jan Watson. I haven't read any of the other books, but Tattler's Branch stands alone well. I thought the characters were well introduced and they had "flash backs" to help fill you in on the details that happened in the previous books. So if I were to read the earlier books after I read "Tattler's Branch", I would know some of the story plot points since they are "given away" in this one.
I thought the book flowed really well. It wasn't one that I read in a marathon session, but I found that it still had a nice pace to it and I did occasionally read longer than I had planned because I didn't want to put it down!
I found it interesting to know more details about the abandoned baby than Lilly did and what was going on "behind the scenes".
There are also "Discussion Questions" in the back of the book if you want to use it for a book club or reading group.
Here is an Author Q & A with Jan Watson:
1. What was your inspiration for this book, Tattler’s Branch?
I wrote this book because the people from Skip Rock Shallows had more stories to tell. I was reading my local paper one morning and came upon a story concerning something dramatic that had happened on a creek called Tattler’s. I could see Armina there.
2. Tell me about your main character Lilly Corbett Still. Was this character based on anyone in particular?
No, Lilly Gray Corbett Still is totally a figment of my imagination. Lilly is one smart and courageous young woman. I do love anything medical, so Lilly allowed me to indulge a bit in the medical practice of the time. If I were to live any of my characters’ lives, I would choose Lilly’s. She is so strong and determined. And kind—Lilly is very kind.
3. What lessons or truths will your reader find in the pages of this story?
A central truth in each of my books is that everyone is important and unique. Every person has a story to tell and that story is worth hearing.
4. How do you expect Lilly’s story to resonate with your readers?
I believe my readers will appreciate Lilly’s strength in the face of adversity.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I especially enjoyed the relationship between Lilly and Armina. Armina is naturally funny and Lilly handles her prickly humor with aplomb. I also liked exploring the character of Shade Harmon. I learned a lot from Shade (including some things I didn’t need to know). The relationship he had with his first wife is especially telling. The way he loved his baby girl touched my heart.
Not to give anything away, but there’s a line in the book where Lilly says, “The ground at the foot of the cross is even.” I just love that she said that.
6. What is your hope for this novel? How would you like it to impact readers?
I want my readers to be entertained with wholesome, faith-affirming, thought-provoking fiction.
7. What big questions will this novel get your readers thinking about?
I hope this humble story will inspire readers to look beyond a person’s earthly circumstance and ask themselves who that being really is and what lesson God sent them here to teach.
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
I was given a free copy of "Tattler's Branch" in exchange for my review from the Tyndale Blog Network. No other form of compensation was received.