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'Til the Well Runs Dry

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,342 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
"As universally touching as it is original." -The New York Times

Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2015 Honor Book in Fiction
Booklist Starred Review
O, The Oprah Magazine "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"

A glorious and moving multigenerational, multicultural saga that sweeps from the 1940s through the 1960s in Trinidad and the United States.

In a seaside village in th
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published January 1st 2014)
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Blue Of course, it's about real people. Real people make booboos. The important thing is to continue to love one another. I think this family does that…moreOf course, it's about real people. Real people make booboos. The important thing is to continue to love one another. I think this family does that part right. Hi Urenna. Where did you see hatred?(less)

Community Reviews

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Review based on ARC.

Oh man, how even to review this one. I signed up to get this one because it had something to do with Trinidad. That was really all that motivated me. Otherwise, it sounded kind of trite... ya know, "multigenerational" "multicultural" "blah blah blah." But my mom is from Trinidad and, unlike the author of this book, I have NOT heard much from her about her home-country. I was hoping the book might give me even the slightest of inside looks... And boy did it.

I would not describ
Every year I seem to come across a novel that I expect to be a mildly entertaining spring/summer read which completely exceeds my expectations. Last year it was The Turner House, this year it's 'Til the Well Runs Dry. I listened to the book on Audible. A superb performance by Bahni Turpin and Ron Butler. Bahni Turpin is fast becoming one of my favorite audio performers. She also did Here Comes the Sun. She inhabits the patois where the character comes from and makes distinctions between for exam ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book randomly from the library's new arrivals shelf, the first from this author. The story is about Marcia Garcia and is set in Trinidad. We meet Marcia as a talented young 16-year-old seamstress and orphan caring for her 3-year-old twin brothers, who's barely able to feed her family. Enter Farouk, a 20 something police officer, who falls madly in love with Marcia and tries to win her love with the help of the local obeah (witch basically).

I was enticed by this book because of
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read an advance copy of Til the Well Runs Dry and I really connected with the characters in this book from the very first chapter. Marcia Garcia's life is filled with many ups and downs that resonated with me. This book took me through every emotion possible and at the end I wanted to follow Marcia and her family into the next chapter of their lives. This is a wonderful book that should be read by everyone who enjoys historical fiction. I have a feeling that this book will definitely become a ...more
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So. Many. Things. Happen. Francis-Sharma packs her narrative tight with action and suspense in a story that spans nearly two decades and focuses on a non-traditional nuclear family (Technically, the couple at the novel's center, Farouk Karam and Marcia Garcia, are married, but they've been separated for nearly the entire length of their marriage, even as they continue to have children together).

The story alternates between three narrative voices: Marcia's, Farouk's, and their second-eldest daug
If you like a book that’s go- go- go, you’ll want this one. After only a few chapters, things really took off. I was concerned that with 379 pages to fill, the pace would drop off. That couldn’t have been further from the truth!

The story begins 1943, in Trinidad, where we meet a teenage girl, Marcia Garcia, and a slightly older Farouk Karam. Farouk, a police officer and ladies man, is determined to win Marcia’s heart. So much so that he solicits the help of an obeah. But Marcia, a seamstress wit
Nicole Falls
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book punched me right in the gut. Beautiful writing. Compelling story. A must read.
Jan Pelosi
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: families
Disappointing book! There was so much going on that it almost seemed as if the author got a little too enthusiastic and tried to cover every possible topic she could think of. There were interesting aspects but overall I couldn't put a finger on a single character who I really liked. Not Farouk, not Marcia, not Patsy, not Wesley, especially not Farouk's parents, maybe I cared just a wee bit about Yvonne and Jackie (she was probably the most likeable character). Marcia just had a dark cloud hangi ...more
La Tonya  Jordan
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Circle of Friends Book Club
Recommended to La Tonya by: Go On Girl Book Club!
Shelves: good-read
This was an enjoyable book. The language, culture, and history of the Trinidad and Tobago permeate throughout this book. Marcia Garcia is a young girl from Blanchiseuse, a rural area, of the island who grows up within each chapter to be a wife, mother, and business owner. How she handles all the events in her life tells of her wit, charm, and determination. With her four children she makes a life for her self from ashes.

From the beginning of loving his charm, to the constant disappointments fr
Kim Overstreet
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This rich, atmospheric novel transported me from my dreary, wintery hometown to balmy, lush Trinidad in the 1940's. In a small, poor seaside town, protagonist Marcia is working as a seamstress and raising two small disabled little boys. She begins dating Farouk, a young policeman, and as their stories intertwine and unfold over decades, family secrets and political scandals threaten to be their undoing.

Much of the book is written in dialect, and the narrator changes from chapter to chapter. I d
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the highest compliments that I can give a book is that it is a page turner. This book certainly qualifies. When one foregoes mundane household chores and other obligations in order to sit down to follow the excitement and adventures of the characters in this book, then you know you have a winner. I did with very little regret. Its not a perfect book and I have a few quibbles but they are minor in comparison to the engagement and pleasure afforded by this book.
First, some of the quibbles.
Now THIS is what story-telling is all about!

I absolutely loved this book: the story, the dialogue, the character-development, the history, and as I did it in audio, I also LOVED the gorgeous narration done in a sing-song Trinidadian accent that I quickly got addicted to.

I just can't recommend this book enough. Fantastic! I'm left wanting at the end, which I was guessing at right up until the final word, and in a way was aching for a different wrap-up. But that's okay -- the ending provided alig
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book but must admit bias as I was born and raised in Trinidad. The book felt like coming home, the accents, language, food, landscape, it all made me feel as if I was wrapped in a nostalgic blanket.

If I were to try to separate my feelings and focus solely on the book (it's hard), I think I would have still enjoyed the story. The author wrote beautifully, she was able to describe Trinidad without being overly flowery with language. She was able to create fully fleshed out characters
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am once again reminded why I should never read books from the Oprah suggested reading lists. Depressing book.
4.5 stars Outstanding! I enjoyed every minute reading this book. Definitely time well spent.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marcia Garcia is a young seamstress in 1940s Trinidad struggling to take care of her twin brothers alone when she meets Farouk Karam, an Indian police officer who falls in love with her. Despite Farouk's earnest efforts to win her heart, Marcia is guarded, harboring secrets and focused on only taking care of her family. This prompts Farouk to seek assistance from a local obeah woman whose magic sets in a motion a turn of events that will effect multiple generations, from their small, lively Cari ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than Expected

When I first read the synopsis I wasn't too interested in the book. But then, this is why I joined a book club. It allows me to read things I wouldn't have otherwise read.

I really enjoyed the book and didn't want to put it down. Even the multiple character voices we're done in a way that allowed me to keep them straight.

I did have some questions throughout the book and had to go back and reread parts. But I was pretty much able to figure out what I was confused about.

Even the
Robin Friedman
May 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Late in Lauren Francis-Sharma's debut novel, "'Til the Well Runs Dry", the main character, Marcia Garcia, describes herself in a lonely moment as "a monster -- the Sucouya witch", and as "angry, bitter, loveless". The Sucouya witch appears to be a mythical occult character in Trinidad, the setting of most of the novel. The novel describes how Marcia Garcia came to see herself as the Sucouya witch and how she dealt with the situation. The book follows the course of her life from 1943, as a girl o ...more
This is the first novel I've read based in Trinidad! I hope to find more. One of my dearest friends is Trinidadian, and I have been blessed to have been able to go there 3 times. (In fact, while there I made a new best friend, and she actually came to live with me in Massachusetts for a while until she got her life in America going! I loved that time in life. I sure miss living near such close diverse friends. sorry for the tangent there.) This book sure had the feel of much of my experiences th ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it liked it there a sequel to this book? I mean, it kind of ended abruptly, which i guess is a sign of good writing since I'm so invested in how the lives of the characters turn out. I guess i'm kind of tired of unsatisfying endings. I really want to have a chat with the author about this book! I want to know why she chose to tell the story from Jackie's point of view and why she chose the time period she did. Overall, it was a nice peek into a culture I know very little about.
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book. Set in Trinidad. Interesting characters, excellent plot development and the author writes the dialogue in the island rhythm of vocabulary which makes the premise very real. Timely look at immigration battles of the 1960s as the protagonist realizes her only hope to help her family depends upon abandoning her home. More than just a "good read"...this is a book of fiction with a history to tell. Bravo!
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The story takes place in Trinidad and I've traveled there before, so I could easily picture the details that were described and the foods that were cooked. The language was also very familiar and it was written as a true Trini would speak it. It may be hard to understand for someone who doesn't know the culture, but I read it for the pure fact that it was set in Trinidad and Tobago.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it
You don't know what you've got until it's gone. At its core, " 'Til the Well Runs Dry" is a love story that spans 22 years. The story is told in three voices: that of Marcia Garcia; her lover, policeman Farouk Karam; and their second-born daughter, Jacqueline.

Marcia Garcia is a teenager trying to single-handedly take care of 3-year-old twins who are not well. Her parents and sister are gone, and she sews to make enough money to keep the small family afloat. Then she meets policeman Farouk. Their
Rachel Smalter Hall
'Til the Well Runs Dry started out strong as a love story between two hot young Trinidadians with magic love teas and potions. I was excited about all the entanglements and smooching that were sure to follow.

The story just didn't hold up for me, though. I think it tried to do too much and cover too much ground without any of the nuance or ambiguity that I love in fiction. The love story wraps up in the first few dozen pages, and what follows is a confusing jumble of political turmoil, evil sex o
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a child I've always loved books that transported me to another world, real or imaginary, that I would never be able to visit otherwise. In novel 'Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma, I traveled to Trinidad. Not only did I learn what life is like in on the island, but Francis-Sharma's rich writing allowed me to walk in Marcia Garcia's shoes.

What I admired most about Marcia was her ability to keep pushing to give her children the best life she could even when obstacles were thrown at
I loved this book from page one. The author effortlessly describes Trinidad and its diverse people with such rich detail that I felt like I'd been there before. The voices of the characters rose off of the pages and into my ears. The trials that this tragically fractured family go through are very sad but there is beauty in the story as well. I connected with the characters and even felt protective of them like they were my own family. The things that kept it from being a full 5-star book to me ...more
Katherina Martin
I have never given much thought to Trinidad or the people that live there. This book was eye-opening even though it was set in the 1950/60's, and things have probably changed. So different from America during that same time frame. Very good story with characters that were quite believable. For those of you who dislike too much politics or history when reading fiction, you will be pleased to know that while you will be fascinated by, and immersed in the culture of Trinidad, you will not be given ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I must admit that when I read the first four words of Chapter 1, "The cardboard box trembled," I closed the book and didn't pick it up for three weeks. After I finished reading several other novels(Loving Donovan, Cane River, The Invention of Wings, Forty Acres, etc.) I picked up "Till the Well Runs Dry" again and forced myself to continue reading pass the first four word..."The cardboard box trembled." Thank God I did. What is that people say...never judge a book by its cover. Well, I will neve ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well, gosh, it took me FOREVER to read this book, but not because it wasn't good. I'm torn, almost gave it 5 stars. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, an area of the world I knew nothing about and now want to go visit!! I got so frustrated with the characters in this book, although I realize it was probably the most realistic way they would have behaved coming from such a poor and hopeless background. This is the story of a family, from the parents' meeting through raising four kids, and finally comi ...more
Pria Alston
This book was so engaging! The interwoven family and how each decision changed the direction of all of their lives. It was frustrating at points but very interesting until the very end. I'm a little disappointed in the ending. It felt like there were unanswered questions.
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Literary Fiction ...: Discussion: Til' the Well Runs Dry 119 126 Apr 27, 2017 01:01PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: Insight From Lauren to GOG 1 3 Jan 31, 2015 03:23PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: * What Did You Think of The Book? 3 3 Nov 15, 2014 05:50AM  
Go On Girl! Book...: Trinidad Calypso Monarch Winners 2 2 Oct 07, 2014 05:05PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: Trinidadian Recipes 1 1 Oct 07, 2014 04:51PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: * About Lauren Francis-Sharma 11 5 Oct 07, 2014 04:49PM  
Reading Addicts: This topic has been closed to new comments. Discussion with Lauren Francis-Sharma 1 8 Oct 02, 2014 09:32AM  
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Lauren was born in New York but became the gal she is today in Baltimore, Maryland. She likes to think that the water fountains at St. Matthew School that inspired Tom Clancy were the same that inspired her, but in all likelihood it was the blacktop playground where every child born before municipal parks became fashionable, learned to fight and dream.

After graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Hi
More about Lauren Francis-Sharma...

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“Don't pretend like you know me 'cause you shook some neighborhood tree and got a li'l rotten fruit.” 7 likes
“She wore a loose, yellow cotton, sleeveless dress that tickled her knees.” 2 likes
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