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The Tenafly Road #1

The House on Tenafly Road

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Heartbreaking, inspiring and captivating post-Civil War saga. When morphine-addicted veteran John Weldon marries into the comfortably suburban McCullough family on the eve of Reconstruction and the Indian Wars, life gets complicated. How will Weldon hide his addiction from the family he resents and admires, keep his standing in the army and find the strength to survive the tragedies that come when loving others?

John Weldon spends a lifetime journeying across the prairie frontier of America only to find that he already has a home.

The House on Tenafly Road is the first book of The Tenafly Road Series about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age New Jersey. Buy the book today to begin a journey of love, faith and forgiveness!

*Historical Novel Society Editors' Choice and Notable Indie Book of the Year “The various members of the McCullough family are portrayed with careful detail and some moments of unexpected humor, but it’s the tortured John Weldon who commands the book; his slow and halting search for personal redemption makes for mesmerizing reading. . . . extremely evocative. . . . a long and very satisfyingly complex novel. “ Steve Donoghue

660 pages, Paperback

First published March 28, 2013

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About the author

Adrienne Morris

6 books30 followers
Adrienne Morris is the author of The House on Tenafly Road (selected as an Editors’ Choice Book by The Historical Novel Society) and The Tenafly Road Series, the continuing 19th century saga about the Weldon and Crenshaw families of Gilded Age Englewood, New Jersey.

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5 stars
138 (46%)
4 stars
82 (27%)
3 stars
45 (15%)
2 stars
18 (6%)
1 star
11 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
159 reviews
June 28, 2017
This book, while having a good premise/idea for a story, was very badly done. I honestly don't understand how it has so many good reviews and has won an award.

I think the first and best example of how the book is ridiculous is in the beginning when Weldon is leaving the hospital the nurse give him $5 and sends him on his way. Firstly, right after he civil war there was very little cash money floating around. People used coffee or tobacco to barter, sometimes they even used postage stamps to pay for things because cash money was so scarce. Besides that, $5 in that time was a fortune! With inflation her giving him $5 then was the same as if a nurse gave you about $112 now. Would that ever happen? No.

If you can manage to set all that aside even still the book is confusing as all get out. Again, just using the first couple chapters as examples . . . the doctors have written off Weldon for dead, yet they waste good morphine on him when it was so scarce at the time? They've written him off for dead yet in the very next page they're getting him ready and sending him out of hospital. What? The book says he was 'holding his guts in' and that he had all this puss there for some unknown reason but they still sent him out by himself into the world, at night no less. What? He finds a card in his wallet from a guy he hates but still decides to go on over to his house to visit. Um, why? Weldon gets to the hated mans house and barely says more than two words together but yet suddenly is in love with the sister and going to marry her? The parents are called by their first names so the dialog is perpetually confusing because everyone is just Simon or Sarah but Weldon is still Weldon? Then it's tossed in like a grenade that Katie was raped. Oohhhhhhkay.

Maybe this is some kind of advanced writing style that I'm just not cool enough to understand? But over all this story is told like a fever dream, you make huge jumps between things and are just supposed to keep up by magic or something?
Profile Image for Sherry Chiger.
Author 2 books10 followers
December 27, 2014
This book proves the importance of editors. I couldn't even finish it. Tiresome characters (I swear one of the protagonists weeps every third scene), poor copyediting (the plural of "McCulloughs" is NOT "McCullough's," an error made repeatedly), filibuster dialogue that stops the action dead for no apparent reason, an abundance of telling over showing, a seeming lack of understanding regarding the nature of drug addiction, sloppy prose ("Two excited men trudged up"!!)... I feel horrible submitting this review, but honestly, this manuscript needs a massive overhaul before it should be made available for innocent readers to buy it.
Profile Image for Colleen.
8 reviews7 followers
May 24, 2018
Fantastic book

Great character development and interesting time period. Just when you thought someone was beyond salvation, she endeavors them somehow. she argues both sides of complex issues of the time.
136 reviews3 followers
June 6, 2019
A read demanding attention

This book was not only captivating but totally consuming. It demanded reading. There were times when I got frustrated with Katie and Weldon because they were so blind about their love and devotion to each other. But isn't that just human nature? This book was rich with real depictions of life. If you like reading about by-gone eras and human struggles, this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Kate Loveton.
216 reviews11 followers
November 30, 2014
Let's cut to the chase: I absolutely loved this book.

When I started Adrienne Morris's novel,'The House on Tenafly Road,' I imagined it would be similar to 'Little House on the Prairie' - not that it was a children's book, but I suspected it would be a gentle story of one family's struggles as they coped with life at an Army fort.

Well, it was indeed a story about an Army family assigned to a fort in Indian territory after the Civil War, but it was more than a gentle recounting of that family's experiences. 'The House on Tenafly Road' is a realistic, at times grim, portrayal of love, forgiveness, and redemption. It also offers a searing look at how often we end up hurting those we care most about.

John Weldon comes out of the Civil War a morphine addict thanks to terrible wounds he sustained in the Battle of the Wilderness. A child of a drunken mother, Weldon hates that he's addicted to morphine. He tries repeatedly to overcome the addiction. When he meets his Army friend's sister, Katherine, a girl of good family from Englewood, New Jersey, he sees qualities in the young woman that make him love her. Those qualities also convince him that she can help him stay away from the drug that seduces him. He marries her, refusing to share with her the knowledge of his addiction. As a result, Katherine never truly understands the moods of despair that drive her husband and that, eventually, play terrible havoc with their lives.

Katherine's father disapproves of her marriage to Weldon, whose parentage is half Indian and half British. The older man is unhappy that his daughter and her children will end up living far from home, and that Katherine will have a harsh life as the wife of a solider in Indian territory. He sees Indians as savages, and this often causes him to act badly toward his grandson, William, whom he loves very much. The boy's unhappiness and sometimes unruly behavior, a result of traumatic events experienced during his parents' unhappy marriage, cause his grandfather to grow angry with him and label him a savage.

Sometimes one loses patience with Katherine. She's a strong character, and a complex one. She is deeply flawed. She has great passion for her husband, but her inability to truly understand him leads her into despair. She experiences a terrible loss, and the loss drives a wedge between she and her husband that takes years to overcome - and rends the fabric of their little family, leading to much unhappiness for their boy.

Weldon is also a strong character, and fully drawn. He loses faith - in himself, in those that love him, in his God. He escapes his unhappiness in the morphine which he cannot give up, no matter how good his intentions. His unwillingness to confide in his wife wars with his need for the drug. He drives away those who love him with his black moods, his addiction, his need for secrecy.

I said this was a tale of forgiveness and redemption. It is that, but it is a long, hard road before the main characters achieve grace and renewal.

One thing from the book that will stay with me is something Weldon says to Katherine toward the end of it. It seems he has finally regained his faith and he remarks that 'God shows his grace in chance meetings...' and he goes on to talk about meeting Katherine's brother and, as a result, meeting her, and how profoundly happy she made him in spite of all the tragedy the two endured.

I like the idea of God showing his grace in chance meetings, and I can think of a few examples where that has been true in my own life.

How good is this book? I had about two hundred pages remaining to finish it last evening. I was so caught up in the story that I stayed awake until 3:30 in the morning to see how things would turn out for Katherine and Weldon.

'The House on Tenafly Road' concludes on a hopeful note. I like that. There are no easy answers... just hope. Isn't that how life is?
Profile Image for Ms. Reader.
480 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2015
I received this book on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review...

This book is heartbreaking, inspiring, and had my hooked from every page. The plot, the characters, the storyline, was all brilliant and beautiful and captured me with every word.

Words that were, of course, properly spelled. The editing, grammar, and spelling was atrocious. I'm not the smallest spelling bee out there and especially am got a grammar Nazis, but I was getting annoyed by the amount of errors and misspellings they had. If I was an author, I would be tremendously embarrassed to have a book go out to readers (who are requested to make honest reviews after finishing the book) that had such terrible editing. Though this book deserves a full five stars, I had to knock it down one star because it was stupidly bad.
Profile Image for Jacqui.
Author 66 books183 followers
July 12, 2016
When Civil War veteran and morphine-addicted John Weldon marries into the comfortably suburban McCullough family on the eve of Reconstruction and the Indian Wars, life gets complicated. For one thing, how can he hide his cravings from a family that admires him? And how can he retain his position in the Army? Probably the most important, how can he kick this habit so it doesn't destroy everything he's built?

Book 1 in the series, this is a carefully-researched story that chronologues a Civil War veterans life when he returns to a peace-time world. The plot is fascinating, characters real, and the setting probably one of the best parts of the book. As a history buff, I could barely put this one down. It's no surprise that this is a Historical Novel Society Editors' Choice.
December 28, 2018

I loved every word. The amazing series of secrets kept, followed shortly afterward by secrets that should have been kept but instead were freely blabbed, kept this reader turning pages. Parents who so utterly loved their children but who could not control tough criticisms were difficult to understand. Yet they appeared throughout the story, and seems the bad parenting habits were absorbed by the next generation.
The short declarative sentences made for uncluttered text and a fast read. I took forward to following the characters . . .
188 reviews
May 27, 2017

I started this book without bothering to check the length. Had I done that, I may have changed my mind. So many of those books are full of pages that say nothing - or the same thing.

This is not one of those books. This is a piece of art - a story that flows from one page to the next, one year to the next, with absolute beauty. It was painful at times, full of raw emotion, but so beautifully, wonderfully written.

Well done!
Profile Image for Jane.
10 reviews
March 5, 2019

Exactly the kind of historical fiction I love and search for incessantly. Chock full of references to the Civil War and the Indian Wars that had me frequently looking up more info about these events as portrayed in the book. And it’s not all simpering and sugar coated. It’s about real people with real problems that are still relevant today. I really enjoy sagas and can’t wait to get into the second book!
15 reviews
December 4, 2018
Good read

Not sure what I think of this book on it's whole. A list of dysfunctional characters all so full with faults. But so well written I had to keep reading. Characters so frustrating one wants to slap them but so human one keeps hoping for the best for them.
30 reviews
December 3, 2018

I have never read annything so dreary, sad, depressing, and frustrating in all my life!! It took me forever, i had to force myself to finish it.
235 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2019
A long read

found this book hard Hong at times. Better suited to the American market I feel.
I will not be reading anymore by this author.
24 reviews
February 17, 2020

This book was in my top fifty all time best reads. Considering I have read thousands of books, that is saying something. 4.5 stars.
28 reviews
October 23, 2022
Wa-a-ay too long and repetitive. So much drama and bad fortune in one book. I just wanted everyone to die off so I could be done with it and move on to the next book.
3 reviews
April 15, 2019
Great read. Stayed up all night to finish it. Hard life good endiing. Recommended for those who enjoy reading about the past.
Profile Image for Luanne Castle.
Author 8 books42 followers
March 12, 2016
The best history stories show us ourselves in a different setting. And so it is with Adrienne Morris’ ambitious novel The House on Tenafly Road. I had expected a nostalgic view of a New Jersey village almost 150 years ago. But what I discovered between the covers was the compelling story of a complicated man whose early circumstances as a mixed race (Delaware Indian and British) child of poverty and his Civil War battle wounds nearly destroy his life and family.

John Weldon is a brave and honorable man, but he knows himself so little. The reader can see that he has the potential to be a true hero, and the girl of his dreams, Katherine McCullough, certainly sees him this way. John comforts others with his impressive knowledge of scripture, but he has lost his own faith.

Believing himself to be undeserving--a weak man for having become addicted to the drug given him by the Army doctor--, he secretly feeds his addiction to morphine. Perhaps John is a classic anti-hero because although the reader watches John’s world crumble around him because of his addiction, the reader desperately wants John to succeed. For the most part, John demonstrates loyalty, courage, and compassion for others, although he is not so generous with himself.

Rather than the main characters building a life in New Jersey, John’s army career soon leads the young family to the wilds of the Arizona Territory. Katherine can no longer be the suburban lady she was raised to be, but must toughen up as an officer’s wife in the most far-flung post she can imagine. John and Katherine raise their two children in a tiny, unadorned cabin. I live in present-day air-conditioned Arizona, and it was exciting to read of the relentless heat, the flora and fauna, and of course, the U.S. Army’s relationship with the native tribes of the region.

The novel is long, but John’s path to redemption is plagued with very realistic setbacks and mistakes, and I hung on to every word, eager to get to the next plot development. In a book this rich and layered, various threads repeatedly surface. For example, as makes sense for a serious book of American history, Morris examines the issue of race—specifically Native American images through the eyes of well-read east coast citizens, through the military, and through John Weldon himself. She doesn’t shy away from controversial topics, such as Weldon’s Indian mother’s alcoholism. Her touch is so deft that while she made my heart break at seeing atrocities against the Apaches through the eyes of the appalled and far-removed Americans back in New Jersey, she also showed me the results of two cultures slamming into one another.

Underlying all lies John’s nasty little secret—the addiction he keeps from his wife. I hadn’t realized that morphine addiction among returning Civil War soldiers was a problem until I read this book and decided to Google it. It’s estimated that a half million men became morphine addicts thanks to their service to our divided country. There were no rehabs and no 12-step programs in those days. Perhaps the only hope that an addict could have would be his faith, and above all, The House on Tenafly Road is about faith. Morris so skillfully weaves questions of faith and love in this epic tale that it isn’t until the end of the book that all stills and clarity emerges.

One final note: the version I read still had some typos and mechanical errors, but the revision has cleaned up these problems, at least according to a spot check that I made, so I chose to give the book 5 stars.
Profile Image for Jeff.
605 reviews10 followers
March 19, 2016
Adrienne Morris, the author of this book, also writes a very interesting historical blog, called "Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained--Where Past Meets Present at Middlemay Farm."

This was a very long book, and I might have enjoyed it a bit more had it been split into two books. However, I'm not sure where that split should have occurred, so that's all I'll say about that.

This is a gripping tale of love, loss, and betrayal, set in historical times shortly following the Civil War, leading into the Reconstruction and the "war" with the Native Americans. John Weldon, the central character, becomes addicted to pain medication while recovering from wounds received in battle. While serving in the army, he has become good friends with Simon McCullough. He eventually makes his way to the McCullough home in Englewood, New Jersey, the house on Tenafly Road.

There, he falls hopelessly in love with Katherine, Simon's younger sister. The story goes on from there, and I won't go into endless detail about it, as the book is over 600 pages long.

What I liked about the book was the detail of the time. I feel that Ms. Morris has done her homework very well. I'm not terribly familiar with the customs and times surrounding the Civil War, but this book just "feels right." The attitudes of the people, the way they dressed and carried themselves, the conditions that they lived in out on the frontier, and most especially, the health conditions that afflicted them.

In my opinion, this book was very well-written, in both description and dialogue. The only reason that I gave it four stars instead of five is that I'm probably not in the target audience for a book like this. Sure, there was some action (not that I'm a huge action fan, myself), and I'm not really sure what "genre" this would be placed in. I might simply call it "historical fiction," but I think that it might edge slightly over into the "romance" section, as well. Although, there are many times that what occurred between John Weldon and Katherine could hardly be called "romance."

Nevertheless, I say it's a very good book, worthy of reading by anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and especially if one likes the rather romantic side of that genre.
Profile Image for Jeannie E. Hennig.
47 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2014
Very good read

The book is a very good read. Only it was a little hard to get into at first. I kept forcing myself to keep going. About 200 pages into and then I couldn't put it down. I only give it a four because of the language that would come intermittently. I believe a book can be better if the language stays clean. I will most likely read the next book in the series.
30 reviews
December 28, 2016
good and long

I really enjoy historical novels and this story is about a combination of things: friendship, prejudice, addiction, miscommunication and love that take place after the Civil War from Englewood, N. J. to military posts out on the Western Frontier. Interesting that many of the issues of those days remain to this day.
387 reviews14 followers
September 29, 2016
I won this book on Goodreads. It was an interesting saga of a man and his family right after the Civil War. I liked some of the story, and not others. Also felt it was a too long.
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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