Book Review: THE RIVER WITCH by Kimberly Brock

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Released: April 6, 2012
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Can the river heal her?

Roslyn Byrne is thirty years old, broken in body, heart and soul. Her career as a professional ballet dancer ended with a car wreck and a miscarriage, leaving her lost and grieving. She needs a new path, but she doesn’t have the least idea how or where to start. With some shoving from her very Southern mama, she immures herself for the summer on Manny’s Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Isles, to recover.

There Roslyn finds a ten-year-old girl, Damascus, who brings alligators, pumpkins and hoodoo into her sorry life.

Roslyn rents a house from Damascus’s family, the Trezevants, a strange bunch. One of the cousins, Nonnie, who works in the family’s market, sees things Roslyn is pretty sure she shouldn’t, and knows things regular people don’t. Between the Trezevant secrets and Damascus’s blatant snooping and meddling, Roslyn finds herself caught in a mysterious stew of the past and present, the music of the river, the dead and the dying who haunt the riverbank, and a passion for living her new life.


THE RIVER WITCH is a poignant and haunting story about loss and healing. I was intrigued by the setting of this book because my father spent part of his childhood on the sea islands of Georgia. The author did a beautiful job of bringing the mystical setting of Manny’s Island to life.

Roslyn and Damascus were realistic, complex characters. Neither of their stories was easy to read, and my heart broke for both of them. At times I was confused about Roslyn’s back story, in particular why she and her mom had a strained relationship with the rest of their family.

I enjoyed how the history and myths of the island were woven into the book. I almost believed that Roslyn did have power to call the alligators out of the river. THE RIVER WITCH is an impressive debut from Kimberly Brock. I’d recommend this book to fans of contemporary Southern fiction with strong female characters. Definitely an emotional, memorable read.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.