"Taming the Twisted" is written in a similar style to Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books though updated for modern times. It might read as if she'd left in all of the juicy tidbits about things people didn't talk about during the time when she was writing. "Taming the Twisted" is a story of destruction, romance, mystery, and deceit set against a back drop of an actual historical event.
In early June, 1860, Abigail enjoyed a peaceful home life with her parents, younger sister, and twin toddler brothers. Their home in Camanche, Iowa, where they’d emigrated from Pennsylvania, was almost complete and her beau, Joseph Sund, had recently proposed marriage.
That changes the evening of June 3rd when a tornado rips through town, killing her parents. At the mass funeral for the over two dozen people who perished in the storm, she learns Marty Cranson, with whom Abigail witnessed Joseph having a heated argument, died, but at the hands of a person rather than the tornado.
In addition to being faced with raising her young siblings, Joseph has disappeared without a trace and a stranger, Marshall Stevenson, appears, offering to help Abigail repair the families’ home and cultivate the newly planted farm crops.
Abigail, while developing romantic feelings for Marshall, tolerating the scorn of town woman Pamela Mackenrow, and working as a seamstress and storekeeper to support her siblings, becomes obsessed with finding out who killed Marty, hoping that and not that he no longer loved her, was the reason Joseph left without saying goodbye.
Jodie Toohey is the owner and operator of Wordsy Woman Author Services, a company that helps authors, soon-to-be authors, and want-to-be authors from pre-idea to readers with craft advice, revision and editing services, and book marketing planning services. She is the author of seven books, three poetry collections - Crush and Other Love Poems for Girls, The Other Side of Crazy, and Versed in Nature: Hiking Northwest Illinois and West Iowa State Parks - and three novels - Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters, Melody Madson - May It Please the Court?, Taming the Twisted, and Taming the Twisted 2 Reconstructing Rain. Jodie lives with her family in Davenport, Iowa.
When I read “written in a similar style to Laura Ingalls Wilders’ Little House books”, I knew that TAMING THE TWISTED by Jodie Toohey was a book I wanted to read. Unfortunately, I didn’t think it was at all like the beloved Little House books aside from both families being on a prairie. That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I wanted to like it more than I did, but it was good. The writing was good, the characters were good, the pacing was (mostly) good. I did have a few issues with how the story jumped around a bit at the beginning. While I had sympathy for the hardships that the main characters had to endure, I just didn’t find myself fully engaged with them. Their dialogue was simple and character development seemed weak. I would have loved to see more about the people and less about each step that went into the the biscuits she was making. I did enjoy the mystery aspect of the story – and it was a quick read. I would read another book by the author, however. I think there is great potential there. With a mystery that kept me guessing up until the end, but a story and characters that were under developed, I give TAMING THE TWISTED 2 stars **.
Three and a half stars, rounded to four for Goodreads scale.
Having always been a fan of the Little House on the Prairie series, I was curious to read a novel by an author that stated her book emulated the style of the great Laura Ingalls Wilder. Upon beginning Miss Toohey’s book, I was drawn in by the easy prose, however, I do think it is a stretch to compare it to Wilder’s novels. It certainly takes place during the same time period though, in an environment fraught with peril and uncertainty. The characters were relatable, and their tragedies palatable. It was a tale told many times of a scorned woman finding a new love in an unlikely and unexpected place.
While starting out very strong, however, the ending felt very rushed, wrapping up all loose ends abruptly. I would have liked to see more development of the storyline in regards to Marty and Joseph, as well as Pamela Mackenrow. There was a great deal of potential for the town to take sides in the situation between Marshall and Abigail, but the townspeople paid little mind to Pamela’s scorns, which seemed highly unrealistic for a pioneer community.
Overall, I have had mixed feelings about this novel, and really contemplated what to put in my review, concluding with Taming the Twisted starts strong, and falls short. These are my personal tastes, however, and another reader might truly appreciate the simplicity of this feel good novel. As a self-published author, I do understand it is difficult to put your work out there for public consumption and criticism, and I hope Miss Toohey finds no offense or malice in my review. I wish her the very best of luck in all her endeavors.
This was an interesting book. There were a few things I liked about it. It was set in one of my favorite time periods as well as in a state I am very familiar with. Then when you add in a little mystery it just makes the story even better. I thought the characters were very real and could have been my ancestors living through this tradegy. You could tell the author did her research when writing this book as her descriptions were spot on. The way she tells the story of a small town with all the gossip is excately like the small town I remember growing up in. Not only does the author give us glimpses into the characters everyday life she also throws in a few surprises just to keep us interested in the story. All in all a nice book to read.
Taming the Twisted goes from tragedy to triumph as young Abigail Sinkey rebuilds her pioneer life after surviving the 1860 tornado that devastated Camanche, Iowa. As readers, we experience first hand the sometimes overwhelming challenges the teenage heroine faces as she takes on the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings. Add to the historic details a dose of romance and a dash of mystery and you get an entertaining read for young adults on up.