Audiobook Review: THE WIDOWS OF BRAXTON COUNTY by Jess McConkey

Format: Audio; 9 hrs, 5 mins
Narrator: Coleen Marlo
Publisher: Harper Audio
Released: July 23, 2013
Source: Review copy from Audible

Kate is ready to put her nomadic, city-dwelling past behind her when she marries Joe Krause and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years. But life on the farm isn’t quite as idyllic as she’d hoped. It’s filled with chores, judgmental neighbors, and her mother-in-law, who – unbeknownst to Kate until after the wedding – will be living with them.

As Kate struggles to find her place in the small farming community, she begins to realize that her husband and his family are not who she thought they were. According to town gossip, the Krause family harbors a long-kept secret about a mysterious death that haunts Kate as a dangerous, unexplainable chain of events begins.


Do sons bear the sins of their father? That’s the question facing new bride Kate Krause in Jess McConkey’s novel, THE WIDOWS OF BRAXTON COUNTY. Kate’s excitement over starting a new life with her husband Joe on his family’s farm quickly turns to despair when the dark side of Joe begins to emerge. Kate learns that Joe’s great-great grandfather was murdered in the farmhouse in 1890, and that he was a cold man who abused his wife Hannah. Rumor is that the Krause family is cursed because of Jacob’s cruelty, and tragedy has plagued the family for over a century.

This was an intriguing murder mystery with a hint of the supernatural and so much more. The chapters alternated between Hannah in 1890 and Kate in present day.  (I love dual time periods!) Both women were strong protagonists, and I was particularly impressed by Hannah’s strength and courage. The book addresses domestic violence, women’s rights and their place in society in the 19th century, and the struggles early suffragettes had to face. It also explores violent behavior of parents and its effects on children later in life.

I enjoyed Coleen Marlo’s narration of this book.  She gave a lively performance and did a fantastic job giving distinct voices to Kate, Hannah, and a sizable cast of secondary characters.  A couple of the men had a noticeable growl to their voice, which I thought was appropriate given their disposition!

THE WIDOWS OF BRAXTON COUNTY was a compelling novel with an important message and a satisfying surprise twist at the very end! This one’s going on my keeper shelf. Recommended to fans of mystery, suspense, family secrets, and women’s fiction.

Rating: 4½ Stars

Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided by Audible in exchange for an honest review. Click HERE to find the book on Audible.