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Seven Locks

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Set in the Catskills on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Seven Locks is a spare, haunting, and beautifully written debut for readers who loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

In the years before the American Revolution, a woman’s husband mysteriously disappears without a trace, abandoning her and her children on their farm at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. At first many
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Atria Books
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3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  239 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I started this book, slowly. Then read a few of the reviews, some of which remarked that the mother in this book was so unlikeable. That gave me a sinking feeling, but after finishing the book, I could not disagree more. But I will readily admit this book is not for everyone. It is lyrical in its writing, taking the reader on gentle waves throughout, lulling the reader into a sense of detachment and ease. A sense that is then disrupted at times like the fear of a creature touching our foot while ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I must admit before I get into this review that for the first chapter I was ready to put this book down and bemoan my decision to take it. There is a definite rhythm to Ms. Wade's writing that takes a bit of getting used to - GET USED TO IT. It's worth it. Once I got into that rhythm I was entranced. The narrator of the story is a young wife married to a rather carefree man. They life in upstate New York in what we now know at the Catskill Mountains in the period just before the American Revolut ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
The disappearance/leaving of a husband was the ultimate betrayal and shame at this time in history. Watching your husband turn around as he always did and walk away from you and expecting him to return at the end of the day but not returning is what the "wife" has to endure in SEVEN LOCKS.

SEVEN LOCKS is a heart wrenching story of a wife and her two children trying to survive the hardships of living on a farm in the Catskill Mountains in the 1700's with the Revolutionary War on the horizon and wi
Diane S ☔
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 This is a novel about the hardships, especially of women, before the revolutionary war. A Dutch immigrant, after the disappearance of her husband, a woman is left alone with her two children, to try to survive on a farm in the Catskill mountains. The writing was wonderful, the narration between the woman and her young daughter was also quite informative. The difference between the hardness of the woman and the confused musings of a young girl had somewhat if a jarring quality. Definitely poi ...more
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a spellbinding tale of pre-revolutionary (1769) America set in the Hudson River Valley. When the main character's lazy, hen-pecked husband disappears from their farm at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, she is left to survive with her two children in quite desperate conditions. I hesitate to say too much as I don't want to spoil it for others. Suffice it to say that Christine Wade has incorporated literary legend and reality in a very clever way. If you enjoy descriptive, lyrical writi ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review to come, but I've only given a handful of books 5 stars in 2012 and this is one.
Hana Howard
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Seven Locks is an intricately structured portrait of the hardships the settlers of this country overcame. The story revolves around a woman in 1700’s America who is abandoned by her husband. Determined to survive, she takes on his work running the farm and continues doing her work to bring in income and to raise her children alone.

Set against the background of pre during and after the American Revolution, Ms. Wade creates an incredible rhythm with her tale of a woman living in a Dutch village al
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I am a little torn on "Seven Locks." First off, I really, really liked the writing. While the book itself deals with some pretty negative topics but the writing is almost lyrical. The writing is definitely what kept me reading. I also loved that this book was inspired by a folktale. Even if I was not familiar with the folktale, it was interesting to see how the author twisted the story to make it into something new again.

The story is told from the point of view of a mother (whose nam
Miriam Elfenbein
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't stop reading this book because the central character is such a multi-layered woman, not always a loving mother but a deeply committed mother who at the same time had the full responsibility of their farm and single handedly provided in every way for her family's daily life and future. She sounded like any exhausted, hard working mother of today, candid about her circumstances and worried about her children. Ms. Wade is a remarkable writer, so imaginative, using the language and histor ...more
Vincent Giananti
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Seven Locks is a great story. Its appeal to me in particular was the time period -- the revolutionary war. The book vividly portrayed 18th century life and the drudgery, hard work and daily survival that to me is so interesting. For a woman to pull this off by herself would be very tough, and the feminist sensibility was present throughout. The wife had the wherewithal to recognize her assets, use her intelligence, and work within the limited framework of the time.

Reading is all about words, and
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Drawn from Washington Irving's beloved folk-tale Rip Van Winkle, Seven Locks is a beautifully written story about the hardships endured by an already fractured family when their husband and father disappears without a trace. Set in Pre-Revolutionary War America, author Christine Wade's descriptions of the wooded landscape along the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York are so vivid you literally feel yourself walking the same paths as the narrator, as the search for her wayward husband ultimat ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Seven Locks is a period piece set in the late 1700’s when the soon-to-be United States was transitioning from a colony to independence. It is lyrical in the telling and truly evocative of the time replete with archaic phrasing and vocabulary. The story is told separately through the eyes of a mother and her daughter giving the reader two voices and two perspectives from which to view the events.

The story line is of a young family who lives outside of town on a rather isolated, nearly self-suffi
Caryn Giananti
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adored this story for the author’s word crafting -- the illustrious writing took me to another place. My familiarity with bits of the Hudson, Westchester and upstate entertained me all the more as I read about life in these familiar mountains and valleys over two hundred years ago. I suppose that I am so spoiled by my consumer lifestyle and culture that I was struck by the importance and respect given to all resources such as sugar, ink, a scrap of paper. But despite the contrast in time perio ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
She's Dutch, settled with her husband and two children on a farm far away from the village in Revolutionary era rural New York. He's shiftless and useless and doesn't do his share of the ridiculous amount of work needed to sustain their lives, and she frequently screams at him for it. Everyone knows she's a harridan.

Then one day he walks off with his gun, and never comes back (or does he?). Disappears completely. And suddenly no one wants to buy her sausage.

Wade competently put me in the time a
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
If, you, the reader desires a true transportation into a world long forgotten by the sheer elegance of words, then Seven Locks is for you! Christine Wade has perfecty captured a time and place in our own American History and folklore and in doing so introduces us to a woman who is a clever, tough, and smart survivor. Left alone by a husband who mysteriously wanders away one day, she has to gather her wits about herself and put all of her skills and knowledge to use so that she and her son and da ...more
Annie Leonard
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
With a haunting and utterly unique voice, this is the story of a wife and mother living in a Dutch community in the Catskill Mountains on the eve of the American Revolution. She cares little for what her neighbors think, but when her husband abandons her to care for their farm and children alone, she must depend on her community, and her own hard work for survival. This novel gives voice not only to a hidden corner of history, but also to the common citizens who were buffeted by the winds of war ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Set in the Catskill mountains (having been there enhances the reading experience) in pre-revolutionary America, this is a near perfect novel (to my tastes). It has all the elements I look for: complete identification with the heroine,; the historical aspect is well researched & authentic as well as expertly interwoven into the story; Mother Nature is both friend and foe, but ever present in her beauty & might. Most importantly: the story is entertaining, riveting & balanced in the ra ...more
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very moving a real story told in clear, funny, and fantastical way. Even though its set in the 1700s, the story is timeless and universal. There were turns of phrase so poignant to me that I highlighted passages (something I rarely do) and can even see myself using some of the language to describe essential human experiences in my work as a therapist. Excellently written!
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Early American farm life is portrayed from the perspective of a Dutch community. Descriptions of Dutch sayings and traditions were a treat to read.

I liked how this story is told with an aura of fairy tale -- almost magical in some parts.
Jan 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, amazing writing and incredibly evocative of the time and place. It was a pleasure to read.
Angela Corbin
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think I could even read it again. The story captivated me. But there was so much more...
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book sneaks up on you and then pulls you under. So happy I kept on reading. Wade's writing is so different and takes some getting used to but weaves a beautiful and polarizing story.
Deborah Fritsche
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Amazing story of the strength of a woman to survive in an era of extreme negativism towards women.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Still not sure what to make of this one.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Grabbed this book before a long trip hoping to immerse myself in a great historical mystery, sadly it wasn't all that great. While I did love the historical setting of the book, I found it too wordy for my taste. Some paragraphs were so overly descriptive that they reached a point of repetition, just with new adjectives. I found myself thinking while reading, "Really? You just said that....five times, five different ways. ugh."
I could find that forgivable, as it just may be the way the author wr
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Life is a book with seven locks..... once you get to the end of a chapter, you're allowed to unlock the next. This is the sentiment that the central character of Seven Locks tells her young daughter; it is a way of communicating hope in the seemingly hopeless story of the disappearance of the woman's husband. I like this book so far because the woman is not sentimental, nurturing, or kind-- she is a hard, fierce woman, accused of being a "scold" and driving her husband off. She struggles with kn ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Seven Locks by Christine Wade is written in a unique manner.
The prose are lyrical. Something I don't encounter often. The prose alone were captivating. I couldn't stop reading. Ms. Wade is a very brilliant writer to be able to write in the lyrical manner that she did for this book.
The story is rather "odd". I had to go back and reread the book a couple of time to make sure I wasn't experiencing a "senior moment" and not grasping certain crucial information about the book : the name of the main c
Selena May
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Seven Locks is an emotionally heart-wrenching story of a woman in 1700 19s America who is abandoned by her husband and left alone to run the farm and raise her children. At first, the townfolk believe he left her because she was a scold, but soon, the rumors turn more sinister and they believe she killed him. She is shunned, with no help or sympathy from her neighbours. This novel tells a dark, painful tail of hardship and determination to overcome adversity. This story of survival depicts the h ...more
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I love folktales so when I saw that this book was inspired by one I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it at all. It is hard for me to enjoy a book when I do not like the main character and I just did not care for this woman at all. I felt sorry for her when her husband disappears and she is left with the farm and children to take care of alone, but she comes off so cold and cruel at times that it was hard to feel much sympathy for her.

The story also moved really slowly, it s
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David J. Langum Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction. 1 9 Aug 20, 2013 09:11AM  
Charecters Names 2 11 Jun 08, 2013 10:54AM  
Hudson Valley Aut...: Pre-Revolution History in New York 4 16 Jun 04, 2013 07:01PM  

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Christine Wade is a researcher and writer who fell in love with the Hudson River when she first attended Bard College and has lived on its shores in New York City and the Catskill Mountains ever since. Seven Locks, her first novel, won a James Jones Fellowship Award for an unpublished novel in 2009.
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