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Stony River

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  64 reviews
"It's rare to find such a polished debut and Dower is a masterful storyteller to watch." -- the Globe and Mail.

"Think Mad Men but even madder." -- the Toronto Star

Stony River, New Jersey, 1955: On a sweltering June afternoon, Linda Wise and Tereza Dobra witness a disturbing scene. A pale, pretty girl who looks about their age is taken from Crazy Haggerty’s house by two uni
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Penguin Canada
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  232 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Tricia Dower
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Stony River is finally about to come out in the US -- hooray!
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Growing up we all had a spooky house in the neighbourhood or an odd person that the kids would invent stories about. In this novel about coming of age in the 1950s in small-town New Jersey, Tricia Dower does just that with Crazy Haggerty and his creepy house. As the book began, I felt myself 12 again and tagging along with Linda and her new friend from the wrong side of the tracks, Tereza; watching with them as police officers escorted young Miranda and her son from the home. This is fabulous su ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A startlingly realistic story, Stony River follows three adolescent girls – Linda Wise, Tereza Dobra, and Miranda Haggerty – on their perilous journey towards womanhood while living in New Jersey in the 1950s. Each of these girls face different struggles: Abuse, Parental indifference, Molestation, Religious Zealotry, and Prejudice. This is a tale of women oppressed, repressed in their sexuality, caged by society’s views on what is proper; some endure many types of abuse sexual, verbal, and even ...more
Andrea P.
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

This book tells the tale of how one afternoon in 1955 affected the lives of many people in the small town of Stony River, at the heart of the tale is three girls, Tereza, Linda and Miranda but readers have many other voices as well throughout. This book is a coming of age story of three girls who are all growing up in different families and readers get to see how their lives change over time because of the people that they are surrou
Lorrie Crossley
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. It made me think. Most of us view the 1950s as a time of innocence when every home had a mother and father, where mother stayed at home to look after the children, where nobody locked their doors and everyone abided by good Christian values. But Tricia Dower strips away the veneer of our "Leave It To Beaver" image of the 50s and takes us behind closed doors to experience a more realistic look at life in small town U.S.A. during this time. Her characters are so real and ...more
ashley  lloyd spanton
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's sometimes hard to remember that this book takes place in the '50s. A lot of the time, those years are portrayed as innocent and pure with a focus on the perfect family, but Dower reaches behind the happy surface and examines the darkness that can creep into any era.

Stony River is an intertwining tale of three very different girls, all who happen to be in the same place at the same time on one otherwise ordinary afternoon. The events of that day, though seemingly small, will forever change t
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
A coming-of-age tale that's heavy with tough issues, from domestic abuse to mental illness to incest. Tricia Dower does an excellent job of revealing the darker side of 1950s small-town American life. Full review to come in Quill & Quire.
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the coming of age story of three girls, Linda, Tereza, and Miranda. Linda is sheltered and almost smothered by the love of her parents. Tereza runs wild attempting to escape the cruelty of her life with an uncaring mother and abusive stepfather. Miranda is imprisoned by her father’s delusions and absolute control of every aspect of her life.

I simply don’t have the right words to describe this book but it is one of the best I’ve ever read. Perfect depiction of life in a small town during
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“Stony River” will grab your attention and keep you engaged from the beginning. Tricia Dower does an excellent job setting the scene of the community where the protagonist lives.

After she hears about her father’s death, the young girl who is also the mother of a young boy, does not have the maturity to deal with the situation. Luckily, a local policeman and his wife step up and offer shelter in their home for Miranda and her son.

Some aspects of the book may be distributing to readers, but they
Katherine Pederson
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lots of interesting and sad characters that are well drawn. I found it a bit confusing near the beginning, but when I finally "got" Miranda's "gift" it was much easier to read.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stony River is a beautifully written coming of age story set in the 50's. Tricia Dower does a brilliant job of portraying the mood and culture of that time period. Linda, Tereza, and Miranda are all fascinating characters and I became invested in each one of them. But more importantly, I really like Tricia Dower's writing style. She reminds me of Margaret Laurence and early Margaret Atwood, two of my favourite authors. I will definitely be reading more of this author.
4.5 stars because I thought
Faith Flaherty
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Stony River by Tricia Dower is a worthwhile read. It is promoted as a book for young adults, but I

enjoyed it so much that I’m promoting it as a “coming of age” story for everyone.

This is a story about three girls in a small town, during the 1950’s. One of the girls is dramatically different. She was raised by an emotionally ill father, who fathers her child. When her father dies, protective services places her in an orphanage. Fortunately, a young mother watches over her eventually adopts her a
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A resident of Stony River for as long as she can remember, Linda Wise knows there's nothing to fear. Stony River has always been a calm place where everyone knows each others names and everything they've done throughout their lives. Life in town is nothing but ordinary, however. Until Crazy Haggerty's secrets start coming to light. It's then life starts to change for all of Stony River's residents.

A coming-of-age story, Stony River immerses the reader in a diverse tale surrounding several of the
Jan 14, 2013 added it
There is much to recommend in Tricia Dower's Stony River, starting with the writing. Her prose is both readable and well paced; the detail regarding her setting (the Fifties) and character backgrounds (especially Irish Wicca) is both interesting and educational, and she integrates this "background music" into her story with great skill. It is the story, as usual however, that intrigues me the most. Three young unlikely female heroes manage, with the help of older wiser female characters, to over ...more
Vikki VanSickle
This has a lot of the hallmarks I look for in a book: teenage protagonists, small town drama, 1950s small town setting, and a literary voice. Dower's book has a very ominous feeling to it, and the three main characters, despite drastic differences in their experiences, are all dealing with less than supportive and ideal living situations. Miranda has been raised completely in isolation by her father until his sudden death, which leaves her defenseless with a son at age fifteen. Tereza runs away ...more
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's easy to think of the 1950s as a decade of innocence, filled with elegant housewives, good-natured husbands, and angelic children. However, this book shows us that the 50s were just as filled with dysfunction as any other time period. In this story we catch glimpses of incest, domestic violence, depression, mental illness, repressed homosexuality, rape, and murder, just to name a few things. This is not a book about good and evil, where the ending is neatly wrapped up. Instead, there are a l ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Stony River is a book which reveals the six-degrees of separation between three teenage girls from the town of the same name. As a teenager Miranda is discovered living in Crazy Haggerty's house. Miranda having been raised with Irish paganism beliefs and later raised in a Catholic orphanage grapples with these two belief systems and her 'visions'. All three women are linked by a policeman's murder and assaults on women in the 1950 and '60's, which the author has loosely based on a real murderer' ...more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite good! Some of the characters in this book were fantastic – others were just filler but overall a great read.

This story does give us a snapshot in time, but is still relevant today. I would like to think that we have gotten better but I don’t believe we have. People still turn a blind eye most of the time, we teach girls to yell ‘FIRE’ instead of ‘HELP’ if they are ever being attacked as people will be more likely to respond. Many of the issues addressed in Stony River could have happened a
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Offering an interesting insight into life in 1950's New Jersey, Stony River is a dramatically intense story that reveals the darker side to life growing up as a teen in this time period. Following the paths of three specific young girls, each facing their own set of difficulties, the story becomes disturbingly dark. The problems that these girls face are not necessarily unique to the time period, however, the way that these girls face these problems, their lack of access to information, the litt ...more
Tobin Elliott
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy
Dower creates three very distinct female leads in this novel, and each one could carry a book on their own. Instead, Dower introduces the initial question of the book, through Miranda, then eases the reader through years of each girls’ life, and the paths they choose along the way. She makes the mid-1950s come alive and, while giving us the standard view of America at that time, she also lifts up the veil and shows us the dark places. Dower takes on the extremely tough and touchy subjects of inc ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Won this book on a goodreads giveaway.
I loved it. I wanted the story to keep going. Each chapter added a new layer to the mystery. It is nicely written. I like how it was set up. With the date and year before each part. I like stories with many characters like this one. I was particularly fond of Tereza. I'm definitely recommending the book.
People who know me know that I have a big heart for dogs, so throughout my reading, I kept wondering about the dog Nicholas. What happened to him?

Now that I
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I could not put this novel down since I started reading it. It's an interesting glimpse into a US town in the 1950s and how everything isn't what it seems. While there's that veneer of attitudes and activities that we find familiar with the period, there's also a lot that's often left unsaid about the interactions between people and within families that fuel the drama along. I really enjoyed the characters' stories and how fleshed-out the secondary characters were as well. You can read my full r ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
I received this book from GoodReads First Reads, Thank You!! This is a well-written, complicated, and for me disturbing read because it is about a time we have so easily dismissed as being "simple". The characters are intriguing and layered and surprising in their strengths and depths. They are also surprising in part because what is wrong with us as humanity clearly has always been wrong,even during a time that history since has portrayed as a culture of wholesomeness and innocence.
I really en
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading Stony River, but I am a little prejudiced as the author is my aunt. Reading the book, though, reminded me of the stories she and my mom would tell of their growing up years in New Jersey. It was disturbing at times, but I like that in a book. It wasn't just a fairy tale happy-ever-after story, but one that got real ... with situations that people tend to believe didn't happen during that "age of innocence" that really wasn't innocent. The book was hard to put down after I began ...more
Enid Wray
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. The cover says it's reminiscent of The Way the Crow Flies, and indeed it is. This story, told through the eyes of three young girls, takes you back, not so long ago, when communities kept their secrets tightly held, and as the author says in her end notes, nothing was ever really quite what it appeared to be.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful read. Three very different young girls are growing up during the 50's, and each of them tries to make sense of their lives. One is extremely protected, another is the "bad" girl who know too much, and one has never been allowed outside of her house, so she knows nothing of the world. Every single character is very well developed, and very interesting.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story was riveting with twists and turns that kept you wanting to find out what was going to happen next. Growing up in the 50 - 60s, I could relate to the family values and beliefs in that era. Tricia Dower did an amazing job getting her story across. This is the first book I read by this author.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantastic-reads
It was fortunate for me when Tricia Dower went on my blog and asked if anyone had read her book that I had profiled there. I hadn't, but I rectified that quickly. Because Stony River is fantastic, and interesting, and unpredictable. A great and original read. Definitely pick it up!
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Stony River and I loved it. It's beautifully written with deep, complex characters. I was sorry to see the story end, so I'm going to read it again!
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It evokes a time and place very clearly with distinctive voices and a page-turning plot.
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TRICIA DOWER was a business executive before reinventing herself as a writer in 2002. Her Shakespeare-inspired story collection, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) was nominated for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Herizons magazine called it "ambitious and powerful." Her first novel, Stony River (Penguin Canada 2012 and Leapfr ...more
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