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The Mill River Recluse (Mill River #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  17,356 Ratings  ·  1,678 Reviews
Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont.

Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedro
Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published May 18th 2011
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Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mill River, Vermont is a quiet small town where everyone knows everyone. It is the perfect little community for those looking for a new beginning, a place to start over and create a new home. This is the perfect place for a widowed father to raise his young daughter and for a school teacher looking to start fresh. For some it has always been their home and they enjoy their community and way of life. For some, this is a sanctuary where they keep their secrets hidden away from the public eye.

As I
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
Having finished this novel, I feel as sugar sick as I did once after pigging out on my mother's home made fudge
This is the sort of tale I would have loved when I was 7. I was a very precocious 7, however, having already read Pearl Buck and Havelock Ellis. However, at 76 I need more than plot or facts from a book. I need good writing.

The heavy-handed prose plodding through the banal plotting had me groaning. So why did I finish it? Boredom. Disbelief. That others gave it 5 stars.

If Touchstone doe
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was very endearing. The book follows the life of Mary McAllister, a misunderstood widow and recluse who has lived in quaint Mill Creek for eighty plus years. Emotionally scarred by a childhood incident at school, her life doesn't improve any when she meets and marries rich Patrick McAllister. The story weaves back and forth through the decades of her life. Her character felt very real and the special lifelong friendship she shared with her parish priest was a tender focus in the story. ...more
Robin Miller
Jan 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
A disappointing book better suited for a cheesy lifetime movie.

With a feel-good factor of 10, believe-abilty factor of 0 and poor dialogue this story is best suited for a lifetime made-for-tv movie starting some washed-up sitcom actress from the 80s. There is potential in the story of Mary--she was raped by her high school teacher, she married a wealthy aristocrat, she was physically abused by her cheating husband, she was widowed at a young age yet she maintained a peaceful existence in a mans
Max Tomlinson
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Warning-spoilers ahead.

Darcie Chan is the poster child for struggling indie writers. Her debut novel, The Mill River Recluse, has logged a staggering half million downloads and maintains a four plus star rating on Amazon with close to nine hundred reviews. So it was with eagerness that I began The Mill River Recluse.

The first part of the novel reads well. The writing doesn’t take many chances but that’s fine—a good story well told is a great thing. The characters are introduced in a revolving m
Gloria Bernal
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well that's the best 99 cents I ever spent (kindle ebook). I've spent much more on books I've liked less. This has a little bit of everything, and is very original. Strong 4.5 rating from this reader. I just do not understand the other low ratings I've seen here.

The town of Mill River seems like a character itself in this captivating tale of a widowed recluse who lives high on a hill in a marble castle-like home overlooking the town. This character-driven novel holds the readers attention well,
Andie Murray
Jan 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I downloaded a sample of this book after hearing about it on Len Edgerley's "The Kindle Chronicles" podcast. It's an excellent podcast and Len has an MFA so I just assumed he would only recommend good books. I am quite disappointed. The sample drew me in enough that I figured it was worth the .99 to download the book, but after reading it I have to say...I don't understand over 400 5-star reviews for this work.

The characters are entirely 1-dimensional, either all-good or all-bad. Really no in-be
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
The only reason that I didn't give this book one star is because it didn't make me angry. I reserve the one star treatment for books that actually manage to evoke an emotional response (hate, disbelief, homicidal rage, etc.).

I can't bring myself to hate this book because it bored me to tears. There was absolutely nothing original about the plot or characters. It wasn't believable nor were the characters relatable and frankly, the book served no purpose other than possibly to make the author cong
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I think the author had a wonderfully soft, kind story to tell but she had to work way to hard to try and convince me that I should love her character, Mary, the town recluse. I never felt connected to Mary. Too much time was spent telling me that Mary was crying. Eventually I lost patience with her. As a reader I would have been better served if I'd been allowed to get into the character's thoughts. Mary was one dimentional and spent way too much time crying. Who knew there were so many varried ...more
William Ramsay
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been a Kindle reader since the very beginning of the Kindle and ebook revolution. I try to read forty books a year, but that can be very expensive. EBooks are cheaper. But now the publishers are forcing up the price of ebooks (I saw one recently where the ebook was more expensive than the paperback! But that's a different subject.) The counter to more expensive ebooks is causing an even bigger revolution, and I don't think the publishers realize it yet. The book in question is a self publis ...more
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.

Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant pec
Maryanne Gates
Jun 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
One hit wonder – like Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy
So enthrallingly cheesy – like an episode of Little House on the Prairie. I read a lot of reviews, and some were rather harsh, most were gushing. One was even a little hostile, going as far as checking Darcy Chan’s work records. Green is an ugly color when worn with red.
Yes, the story is so predictable and boring. Yes, the characters are cliché, the town is cliché and Daisy is very annoying. Darcy Chan created cardboard cut-out charact
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
What a great lesson that this book instills....Don't judge! Throughout this book many people were not how they were perceived. I love the parallels the author made between many of the characters: Mary-Claudia and Patrick-Leroy. How different Mary's life would have been if she had met someone like Kyle. Favorite quote from the book...

"You cannot force someone to like you or love you, but you can make it difficult for others to dislike you by earning their respect and trust. And to do that, you mu
Oct 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
So far, I can't "put it down".
(I'm reading it on Kindle for MacBook) ;)
Oct 31, 2011 rated it liked it
The Mill River Recluse was one of those books that I put into that unexplained category of 'books that kept me reading due to intense curiosity, but that I didn't necessarily enjoy.' The story wasn't particularly deep or interesting, but there was a lot of foreshadowing and I kept wanting to know what happened next. There were a few twists and turns that kept me interested, but a book doesn't become interesting due to plot twists alone.
Also, maybe I am just being a killjoy here, but I found to b
Ruth Turner
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: small-town-usa

This book has quite a few bad reviews so I started reading with no real expectation of enjoying it. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The narrative moves backwards and forwards, between past and present, telling the story of an ordinary small town and, for the most part, the ordinary people who live there. It's a well written, easy read, with realistic characters that I enjoyed getting to know.

There's nothing outstanding about the book, but I liked it a lot and was sorry when I fini
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: almost anyone
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Sisterhood of the Traveling Book.
When I read the synopsis of this book I was expecting the normal, run of the mill contemporary fiction book. In fact, what Ms. Chan has given us in her first outing as an author is more than that. She has a wonderfully descriptive writing style that is easy to read. Her descriptions of living with Social Anxiety Disorder, everyday life in a small Vermont town, and the landscape of Vermont are spot on.

The characters in the book are wonderfully developed. Most of them are flawed in some way. As M
Lexy Harper
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In a word ... wonderful!

Though I love literary fiction, I tend of avoid it because it connects to the melancholia inside me. But some books are just too irresistible to ignore. I made the mistake of downloading a sample of this book when I noticed the way it was shooting up the Kindle bestseller chart. Almost from the first word I knew that I had to buy the book. I lay in bed this morning and read it in one sitting...sublime!

In a strange way The Mill River Recluse reminds me of one of my favour
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
It is very nice once in a while to put all cynicism aside, and enjoy a feel-good novel that leaves you all warm inside. This is one such novel, with great characters you can deeply connect with and care about, with very clear separation between right and wrong, and with such old-fashioned values as friendship, loyalty, a sense of community, mutual support, and other lovely ideas we can now mostly dream about, but do not really experience in our everyday lives. Very engrossing and sweeping, I lov ...more
Aimee Laine
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I have to admit, I picked up this book 1) because it was free 2) because I'd heard about its popularity, 3) despite being a self-published book, the writing was solid enough it didn't make my eye twitch in the first 10 pages, and 4) I was thoroughly intrigued by the premise.

Yes, I have some serious issues with this book. Big ones. Serious ones.

- It was way too freaking long. Wow. All I can say is description could have been cut in half and it *still* would have been too long. I started ski
Oct 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book is awful in every way. I can not fathom why it got anything but negative reviews...except for the fact that it seems depressed people seem to like depressing stories. The book is absurd...this rich guy marries a weak-minded girl who was crushed by one terrible event, has no interests, no education, and absolutely nothing to offer except she looks good on his arm when he can coax her out of the house. Really? The book is boring...nothing to speak of actually happens. Teh book is depress ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
If I hadn't been on maternity leave and bored I never would have finished this book. The characters are one-dimensional, uninteresting and predictable. A priest whose only vice is stealing spoons? Um, ok. The writing is laughably bad. Here's a favorite quote:

"I feel like I'm in a food coma."
"A what?" Claudia said, laughing, even though she'd heard him perfectly well. It was such a clever, funny description.

The writer could use a lesson in showing, not telling.
Judy Collins
"I fell in love with this story, the author, the town, and the characters!"

This mysterious mansion drew me in from the front cover, along with these intriguing characters, especially, Mary and Father O’Brien. Your heart goes out to this woman, living a sheltered life, yet able to touch so many lives with her goodwill, even in the next upcoming book (from the grave).

Shifting back and forth from past to present, Chan takes us back to the era of the fifties and sixties. A time when options were li
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I first saw this book advertised for sale for $.99 on "Pixel of Ink" which is a Kindle Blog that publishes all the near free book offers. The description looked intriguing and there were about 30 4-5 star ratings for the book on Amazon, so I downloaded the sample and found the first chapter to be extremely well written so I got it. The Mill River Recluse is Darcie Chan's first book. It is not yet in "print" and can only be read electronically (not sure if Amazon has the exclusive or not).

The no
Brenda  Whitner
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Mill River Recluse was a poorly written book. It was about a woman named Mary who was raped by her teacher in high school. This rape caused Mary to have social anxiety, she was deathly afraid of people. Then Patrick comes along and tries to cure her. When they first meet he talks about her like she is some kind of object. I hated the way the author had him thinking about Mary. It was like something out of erotica or of the like. But anyway Patrick ends up cheating on her and abusing her. He ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: my sister read it and passed it on to me. She wasn't all that impressed.

Whereas I would give this book about a 3.5, for the following reasons. A few years ago, when agents ruled the land and authors scuttled around under their feet unnoticed, there was a lot of advice going around about making your book easy to read for the poor dumb reader because, y'know, long words are difficult for us and distance us from the story. Chan evidently followed that advice, and lo and behold
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Summary: Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.

I really enjoyed this book. Mary is a sympathetic character even though she
Norma Budden
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone on the planet
Recommended to Norma by: Amazon
Who says you cannot judge a book by its cover? That's what I did with Darcie Chan's book, The Mill River Recluse, and I have not regretted it for an instant. As a result of purchasing and reading Darcie's book, I met two of the most beloved characters I've had the privilege of meeting in fiction, Michael and Mary. Furthermore, witnessing the friendship blossom between these two - spanning 60 years - was a reward, in and of itself.

In case you have not read this book, I really must suggest you tak
Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire Ridgway
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book accidentally when browsing through the Kindle store for fiction and I'm so glad that I found it. It has a wonderful mix of ingredients - small town life, nostalgia, mystery, love, hate and crime - all blended together beautifully and I like the way that chapters switch between characters and also switch between the present and the past.

Mary McAllister is the Mill River recluse, a woman who lives in her beautiful marble mansion and a woman surrounded by mystery. Her painfu
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A Great New Historical Crime Novel!!! 15 145 Mar 15, 2014 02:37PM  
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Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestselling author of the eBook sensation THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE and the novels THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION and THE PROMISE OF HOME. She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.

For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate. She now writes fiction ful
More about Darcie Chan

Other books in the series

Mill River (3 books)
  • The Mill River Redemption (Mill River, #2)
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