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The River Witch

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  854 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
Broken in body and spirit, she secludes herself in the mystical wilderness of a Georgia island. Can she find herself in the sweetness of old songs, old ways, and the gentle magic of the river people?
"Kimberly Brock has an amazing voice and a huge heart; The River Witch welcomes the reader to a haunted landscape, authentically Southern, where the tragedies of the past and
Paperback, 246 pages
Published April 6th 2012 by Bell Bridge Books
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Jennifer Fromke Not fantasy. It's a southern story about a grieving woman, but taps into some "old magic" type atmospheres as the characters are forced to look…moreNot fantasy. It's a southern story about a grieving woman, but taps into some "old magic" type atmospheres as the characters are forced to look backward and then inward. Not real magic, but sort of a magical setting, with relationships the seem to come together by some outside force.(less)

Community Reviews

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J.M. Maison
Apr 27, 2012 J.M. Maison rated it it was amazing
Just like the riverbanks' magical tales and songs, Kimberly Brock weaves prose into a mesmerizing tale of healing for Roslyn Byrne, whose future is shattered after a devastating accident and miscarriage. When Roslyn seeks respite and recovery on Manny's Island, Georgia--where "time seemed to slip around"--and she meets young Damascus, with her pumpkins and hoodoo, the two share a bond of loss and hope. Then through the magic and people of Manny's Island, Roslyn finds strength and a renewed passi ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Ginifer rated it it was amazing
The River Witch is phenomenal – one of the best books I’ve ever read; the kind of book that resonates deep inside and you know will linger there always. It is unfathomable to me that this is Kimberly Brock’s debut novel…and there is no way I’m going to do the book justice in this review, but I’ll try.

Roslyn Byrne has experienced multiple tragedies in quick succession that have left her completely lost and broken. As a professional ballerina, Roslyn worked hard to be the best dancer so her mothe
Edible Tapestry
Jul 03, 2012 Edible Tapestry rated it it was amazing
High quality writing! As I read this book, I was wishing I could hear the music that is described throughout it and streams through the main character's mind when she needs to feel close to home. Then I put two and two together and wondered if the music the congregation was singing in the movie Cold Mountain is the same. It is, and native to Appalachia. I think I like that most about the book, though my heart ached for both the lost "little girls" whose lives the story surrounds. It is memorable ...more
Dani C. (Paulette's Papers)
After going through a tragic accident that ended with the miscarriage of her child and injured her in a way that she will not be able to go back to work as a ballerina, Roslyn Byrne rents a house on Manny’s Island, Georgia for the summer. There she comes to know some of the locals and becomes involved in their lives and the dramas that surround them all the while trying to give her dead child a name and to find out what she will do with the rest of her life.

I really wanted to love and adore thi
Kate Brady
Jan 16, 2013 Kate Brady rated it really liked it
I think this is a really beautifully written book. I absolutely loved that about it, but at the same time I also agree with one of the other goodreads reviews that pointed out some problems with the writing. Sometimes I'd have to read a passage a couple of times because it didn't seem to completely make sense (though somehow managed to still be really beautiful.) It was like the author was suddenly talking about about something totally different, mid sentence or paragraph.

My only other complain
Jul 04, 2012 Brittany rated it liked it
*I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. The review is based solely on my opinion and was not influenced by author or publisher.*

Roslyn Byrne hit rock bottom, hard. Three back to back tragedies force Roslyn to seek solitude on Manny's Island, where she's hoping to search within herself for answers. It's not solitude that she finds once she lands on the island. For the summer she has rented a house that is shrouded in mystery and rumors. She reluctantly finds a friend in her lan
Sep 11, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
I just couldn't get into this book. I kept waiting for something to happen, which annoys me. But mostly it was the characters. I just couldn't identify with any of them. The 24 year old ballerina who lost everything but had all this deep insight into the behaviours of people she'd never met before, who clung to a grandmother she barely knew and a religion & people she didn't know at all, who inexplicably decided she was like or at least understood the "conjure woman" into whose house she mov ...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
May 27, 2012 Melissa Crytzer Fry rated it it was amazing
Brock’ debut novel is a tale of forgiveness and growth, ripe with originality: a story filled with alligators, hoodoo, pumpkins, and haunting choral music of the south, known as Sacred Harp. The characters– Roslyn, Damascus, Ivy, Urey – find fear and redemption in the waters that swirl in the Damascus River outside their doorsteps on Manny Island in the Sea Isles of Georgia. Ballerina Roslyn, after a series of poor decisions, a career-ending accident and a miscarriage, must forgive herself befor ...more
Diane S ☔
May 02, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
This will make a delightful summer read. The prose is magical as are the characters. The river setting on the Georgia sea islands is beautiful, the alligators and the river music, a hoodoo house and a delightful little girl named Damascus. I so loved reading her pithy sayings and her own special blend of common sense. These are characters looking to heal and find a way forward, full of remembrances and yearnings. Enchanting!
Jessica McCann
May 01, 2012 Jessica McCann rated it really liked it
This is a strong debut by a fellow Bell Bridge Books author. Kim's writing is lyrical and captivating, and kept me turning page after page to learn its secrets. My only complaint is that I wanted more. The story she weaves is so complex and multilayered, the book could have been twice the length and would have held my interest.
Jul 23, 2012 Jillyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Women, southern lit fans
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Needing a break from a more than stressful life, Rosalyn Byrne rents a house for the summer on Manny's Island, Georgia. Forced to walk away from a career as a ballerina from a car accident & a miscarriage, this little island is the perfect place to just disappear for a while. But that old house holds secrets of its own. The Trezevants own that building, & not all of them are willing to let go so easily. There's Damascus, a little girl na
I received this book in a GoodReads first-read giveaway.

About halfway through The River Witch, my husband asked me if it was a book about witches that live around a river ... I had to think about it for a moment, but my answer at that point was "well no, not really ... it's really about alligators…. and pumpkins"

this was NOT a sarcastic answer.

well, maybe it was .. sort of.
but actually, not really - because there ARE alligators and pumpkins and they really DO play a fairly significant (symboli
Hallie Sawyer
May 18, 2012 Hallie Sawyer rated it it was amazing
This debut novel was magical in its complexity as the author weaved a variety of emotions into every storyline. The southern voice and setting were so perfect for this type of story; the foothills of the Appalachians and the sea islands off the coast of Georgia served as a wonderful backdrop.

Roslyn's soul-searching pain was so raw that I could feel her frustration as I read. She finds herself treading in unknown waters because of her past choices as well as things now out of her control.

Elizabeth Drake
Jun 27, 2012 Elizabeth Drake rated it really liked it

This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes

Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty but were I to see it on a bookshelf I am not sure that it would stand out enough to entice me to buy it.

The Gist: Former ballerina Rosyln Byrne lost everything that defined her in one fell swoop. She has retreated to a remote Georgia island in the hopes that solitude and serenity will allow her to patch up her broken life. Instead she finds herself in the middle of another shattered family and i
Erika Robuck
May 20, 2012 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing
When a car crash ends ballerina Roslyn Byrne’s career and causes a miscarriage of her baby, she is broken in body and in spirit. At the urging of her mother, she travels to the Sea Isles of Georgia for escape and healing. It is on Manny’s Island that Roslyn learns that sometimes healing hurts, but that suffering can bring about more beauty and blessing than we can ever anticipate.

A superstitious local woman, a precocious ten-year-old girl named Damascus, and her elusive and troubled father, Urey
Jul 30, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

I just finished reading The River Witch. If I'd had the time, I might have read the book in one sitting. It was difficult to put down! I absolutely loved the telling of this story. I was captured within the first couple of pages. Her descriptions of the river and island made me feel like I was walking around seeing it for myself. It is very rare that I become so caught up in a book that I can feel what the characters are feeling. Without giving much of the story away, I felt l
Apr 26, 2012 MsEM rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! The author did an amazing job of keeping me engaged in the story line of Rosalyn and Damascus, Donnie, Otis, Ivy, JB and Urey and well every character was lovely! There were many times when I felt all wrapped up in the "pumpkin of life" there on the Damascus River. I love stories about water, old homes with great history to tell, and a new life being woven into the tides of life. I loved the fact that this book was NOT repetitive in lines. I hate a book with the sam ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Marleen rated it it was amazing
Received from Bell Bridge Books through NetGalley

“The only thing that really ever haunts a person is a regret.”

Roslyn Byrne is twenty-four years old and feels her life is over.
Formerly a professional ballet dancer she lost her career in a car wreck. When she loses the baby she wasn’t sure she wanted during a premature and lone birth she also loses a bit of her mind and most of herself.
With the future seemingly without any prospects, Roslyn yearns for the past and the Appalachian foothills where
Aug 15, 2012 Denise rated it liked it
I would really give this book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story but had a bit of a problem relating to some of the characters and their motivations. After suffering both a devastating car accident and the loss of a baby, Roslyn, a professional prima ballerina has a life crisis/nervous breakdown. Her mother arranges for her to go stay on an isolated sea island off the coast of Georgia. She becomes reluctantly involved with the troubled family who own the property and keep secrets from one another. T ...more
Rhiannon Johnson
Remember when you first read Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor or Terry Kay? Prepare to feel that way again when you experience Kimberly Brock’s “The River Witch.” In a recipe as perfect as Granny’s biscuits, “The River Witch” provides everything you love about Southern fiction with an edge of Southern Gothic. Family, faith and resentment mix with love and loss, broken bodies and souls, and a stranger in a strange place. Add to this mix some mythology, fable and folktale and you will find a story th ...more
Casea Major
Jul 05, 2012 Casea Major rated it really liked it
Rich and layered. Not a happy story. It will raise your hopes and break your heart. Powerful and honest. I loved it. I hated it. I finished it three days ago, and I can't stop thinking about it.

There are some stories you read and you realize how woefully short of the mark you fall as a writer...and a person. This is one of those. Not for the faint of heart or feeble of mind.

Take a trip to the Conjure Woman's house, if you dare. You might be suprised who you find.
Brandi Stagg
Apr 27, 2012 Brandi Stagg rated it it was amazing
I have read this book several times and every time I see more and feel more. Beautifully written characters, gorgeous scenery and emotional redemption. I can not recommend this book enough! Mrs. Brock has a firm grasp on the voices of her characters and what drives southern women and communities. I felt at home in her words and the beautiful island she described. What a wonderful way to spend a spring or summer weekend on the porch.
Oct 08, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Bravo Kimberly Brock! A very touching and heartwarming debut that had me wanting more, page after page. I was a bit hesitant in the beginning because this is not the typical type of women's fiction that I read. But I have to say I'm glad I picked it up and gave it a try. Looking forward to reading more from Ms. Brock and maybe taking a visit to the South.
Lori Spielman
Jan 05, 2013 Lori Spielman rated it it was amazing
The River Witch is a rich, captivating story of loss and redemption, love and forgiveness. Set in the south, Kimberly Brock's descriptions are so vivid you can almost feel the river's tide and taste the warm pumpkin bread. If you loved Sue Monk Kidd's THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, you'll fall in love Kimberly Brock's beautiful novel.
Donna Ferraro
Sep 05, 2012 Donna Ferraro rated it it was ok
I am disappointed in this book (nearly finished with it). Story should have worked but writing is disjointed with many discrepancies. There were parts that were well written and other parts that were redundant and/or poorly written. I'll put it down to poor editing and try to give the author some credit.
Aug 16, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
Overall, this is an impressive debut novel by Kimberly Brock, full of emotion and atmosphere. The writing is powerful and I enjoyed the treatment of grace. At times the plot is a bit slow-moving and some stretches of dialogue are unrealistic. Nonetheless, it's an entertaining story.
Oct 24, 2013 Marya rated it it was ok
I don't know why this book got such good reviews. I read it for my book club and nobody liked it. I didn't like the characters, writing style or story. Only half of the book club actually made it through the book.
Jun 07, 2012 Ann rated it it was amazing
A tender intriguing book. The setting is a character. Roslyn is so well written I felt like I'd known her my whole life. I did not want this book to end. One of the best books I've read in 2012.
May 22, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was a gently moving book, full of lost souls, a river, and an alligator. Roslyn washes up on the shores of Manny's Island (not literally) to find it inhabited by a family with its own problems. Roslyn has chosen this place to hide from the world, and heal from the loss of her child and her career. She meets Damascus (named for the river by her mother), a little girl who is just as lost as Roslyn is. The other characters of importance are Urey, who is Da ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
Kimberly Brock's novel, The River Witch, is a beautifully written, haunting tale about loss, love, self-discovery and healing. I invite you to read a book about a beautiful, magical and mystical place, Manny’s Island, Georgia where seeds sprout, sending tiny shoots upward, their tendrils spreading love, hope and wonder. Beauty can be seen all around, from the cascading moss, to the winding river and glorious shimmering moonlight. You can almost feel the warm island breeze touching your face. Won ...more
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Georgia Author of the Year 2013, first novel, Kimberly Brock is the author of The River Witch (April 2012, Bell Bridge Books), a southern mystical work set against the backdrop of the southern Appalachian foothills and the Georgia Sea Islands.She is also coordinator for the She Reads national online book club Blog Network.

"Kimberly Brock has an amazing voice and a huge heart; The
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“The way I see it,” she said, “God is not like a person or even a thing, really. People go around making God into whatever they want or need. But when you get down to it, I believe what my Granny Byrne said. God is love and love is about changing, becoming something more.” 1 likes
“Because it’s what I know to do. Because I want to get better and I figure if I start with the outside, maybe I’ll figure out how to fix the inside.” 0 likes
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