Stony River ~ Reviewed by Pearl Luke

Dower does an excellent job chronicling the formative years of her central trio in a coming-of-age story that effectively tackles heavy subjects. ~ Quill & Quire
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Stony River, Tricia Dower’s delicious second book and debut novel, opens on two friends idling away a scorching summer afternoon. Tereza, thirteen, lives in the building with the store Linda’s mother deems “seedy” and seems to Linda to have complete freedom. Linda is twelve and tries not to “feel superior to Tereza for living in a tidy bungalow with green siding and its own yard.”

The girls are smoking cattail “punks” down by the river near Crazy Haggerty’s house when the police arrive there. Two officers escort fifteen-year-old Miranda Haggerty and her sixteen-month-old son out of the house and into protective custody. Miranda has not been outside in twelve years. No one in town knew that she or her son existed.

From this point of intersection, the three girls’ lives shoot off in separate and vastly different directions.

Gentle, bewildered Miranda is put into the care of first nuns and then the wife of one of the policemen who brought her in, though neither party’s interest in her is entirely altruistic. Miranda sees the world through a soft-focus lens, but in times of clarity is both quick and discerning. Having lost everything except her son, her father’s letters, and a few personal effects, she struggles to obey her father’s advice as she determines who and what she will believe