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A Bend in the Willow

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Willowood, Kentucky 1965 - Robin Lee Carter sets a fire that kills her rapist, then disappears. She reinvents herself and is living a respectable life as Catherine Henry, married to a medical school dean in Tucson, Arizona. In 1985, when their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, Catherine must return to Willowood, face her family a ...more
ebook, 263 pages
Published January 18th 2017 by Tirgearr Publishing
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Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
A Bend in the Willow

Susan Clayton-Goldner

Received from Netgalley

A BEND IN THE WILLOW is a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it. It is filled with twists and turns that you never see coming. I found myself holding back tears at the same time as I was trying to breathe. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I just had to know what was going to happen. Susan Clayton-Goldner makes the characters very real and relatable that you can't stop your heart from breaking while r
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy Geha
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Bend in the Willow by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Beautifully bittersweet – this is the story of Robin Lee’s childhood, the events that formed and tested her, and what she did to finally move on and become the woman known as Catherine Henry. As Catherine her life is everything she dreamed it would be but it is based on lies and she fears that one day she will be exposed. When her five year old son is diagnosed with leukemia and a bone marrow transplant is all that can save him Catherine has to face p
Linda Zagon
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would like to thank NetGalley and Tirgearr Publishers for the ARC of "A Bend in the Willow" by Susan Clayton-Goldner. The plot starts when Robin Lee Carter, a 17 year old, after being raped contributes to a fire that kills her rapist. She disappears leaving her old life behind, and is able to find happiness now married with a young son. Now known as Catherine Henry ,everything seems perfect until her young son needs a donor transplant to save his life. The only relatives that could possibly sa ...more
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - When I was contacted by the author to review this book I was immediately intrigued by the premise. The idea of a woman with a hidden past who is forced to confront her turbulent history to save the life of her ill son. It not only tugged at the old heart strings but I liked the mystery aspect as well.

Even though the book deals with some serious issues (childhood illness, violence, abuse) it was, overall, an easy read that flowed fairly well. There were a few instances where it felt l
Randy Troyer
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My preferred genre of books, history (such as O'Reilly's Killing series), action-adventure (Clive Cussler/Andy McDermott), sci-fi (Bradbury/King), and light-hearted humor (Terry Ravenscroft/Ad Hudler) took an abrupt turn when I discovered A Bend in the Willow. Susan Clayton-Goldner's latest endeavor inspired me to add a new "shelf" to my Goodreads library. I chose to call it character driven fiction. I am uncertain that shelf will be big enough to hold this story.

From page one the reader is draw
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amy by: Susan Clayton-Goldner
A Bend in the Willow is a beautifully written, haunting story that will draw you in and make you want to not put it down until the last page. Even then, you'll be wishing there were more. I loved this book, the story is full of emotion and deals with some heavy issues, but in such a way that it's not disturbing. Rather, I wanted to know more about each character and fortunately, Susan Clayton-Goldner delivered, giving insightful backstory to each one, making them come alive on the pages. Make su ...more
Cindy Brown
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A heart-stirring story of family and forgiveness

Robin Lee Carter has put her ”junkyard trash” past behind her, reemerging as Catherine Henry, the beloved wife of a doctor, and mother to 5-year-old Michael. But when Michael is diagnosed with leukemia, she must not only admit to her past, but face the reasons she ran away from it. A tender tale, beautifully evocative of both the Arizona desert and small-town Kentucky, A Bend in the Willow examines the reasons good people tell lies, the fallout tha
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Being a lovely day yesterday, I thought I would spend an hour or two reading this novel in the garden. That hour or two turned into a whole day, as I couldn't stop turning the pages. I very rarely write what a story is about for fear of spoiling for others, but I do highly recommend. It is the first time that I have read any novels by this author and it certainly will not be the last.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers. This is my honest review.
Jeannie Zelos
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Bend in the Willow,  Susan Clayton-Goldner 

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  General Fiction

 I’d not read any of Susan’s books before but this sounded intriguing. 
I love romance reads, been finding concentration difficult this year so light ones have been the mainstay. Sometimes I want something that’s got a bit more depth to it, and I’ll go outside my usual zone into one like this, a non romance or ones with just a touch of it.
I wouldn’t want to read books like this exclusively,
Original review can be found at

** I received an advanced readers copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I jumped at the opportunity to read this book after reading the synopsis. It sounded intriguing and intense. When Catherine's son was diagnosed with leukemia she was forced to face her past as Robin Lee Carter in the hopes of finding a bone marrow match for him. In doing so she hoped to save her son at t
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really needs to be a more star rating that just 5! This book is emotionally pulling. You want to scream, kick, cry and smile all in one. You want to to reach out and help yourself just so the mother isn't facing what she is. When this author wrote this book she diffidently knew this would be a top reader! And if you have yet, you really need to! This book pulls your from the real reality and makes you feels deep emotions and a connection with the characters. Astonishing read!
Kim Pet
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Superb. Goldner's writing is poetic and flavorful without being too showy for itself. You melt into the story with the choice of her words.
The story itself is heart wrenching, thoughtful and compassionate. The characters are multidimensional and I felt as if I knew them. I can't remember the last time a book brought me to tears, and Robin Lee's tale did that more than once. That's not to say this book is a downer, it's not. It deals with some major life altering situations, but the humanity and
Marilyn Rondeau
In Willowood, Kentucky 1965, after a severe beating and rape Robin Lee Carter set a fire that killed her rapist and ran. The resulting rape left her pregnant and after having the babe which she gave up for adoption she left again to reinvent herself. Legally changing her name to Catherine Henry, she went to school and later married a medical school dean living in Tucson, Arizona. In 1985, when their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, Catherine is desper ...more
Rosie Amber
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Bend In The Willow is women's fiction and is the tale of one women with two names and separate lives which ultimately mesh together.

Robin Lee Carter grew up in Willowood Kentucky. Her father was an abusive drunk who suffered post war PTSD and he was violent towards all three of his children.

By the age of seventeen, Robin's youngest brother had tied after an unattended head injury caused by her father, her mother had died of cancer and Robin had suffered ten years of sexual abuse from her fath
Dan Curnutt
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent novel. I am so glad that the author contacted me with a suggestion that I might like this book.

The writing is wonderful, she captures the essence of her characters very well and develops them easily into people whom you feel you have known forever.

The themes of the book are many and are also developed well. This book would lend itself well to any "Book Club," "Coffee Clutch," or for a family who reads together and shares together.

The themes are these 1) Love and Transparency, 2
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The author, Susan Clayton-Goldner, is a lovely lady in her own right. She brings an intriguing tale of one woman's life, Robin Lee Carter, in "A Bend In The Willows" The book is written in the first person and is an engaging read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story begins with the main character, remembering back to 1954, when she was a child of seven. She'd had a secret crush. Who didn't at a tender age? Mom and dad, her best friend, she and her brother making a fort in the woods. All the remem ...more
Joan R. Craven
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It has been a long time since a story has moved me to tears! But reading the last chapter of this book about soaked my pillow! This is a beautiful story written with Southern charm. You live through each character. It has also been a long time since I have found a story so beautifully written that you could be reading a movie script. You can just hear the words coming off the page into your mind.

Robin Lee Carter grew up in the small town of Willowood, Kentucky. Growing up poor, all her dreams ar
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Michael falls off of his horse and gets hurt Catherine and Ben's life's changes. When the doctors run test on Michael they find out he is very sick. Catherine knows the only chance to save her son is to go back her life as Robin Lee. When Robin confronts Ryan he is excited to finally meet her. When he finds out why she seeked him out he gets angry and walks out of her life. When Robin goes to Kentucky the pain she suffered as a child comes back to her. When Robin goes to visit her mothers g ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything previously by Susan Clayton Goldner but this has to be one of the best books I have come across in forever. While initially I held little expectation, I can now say without a doubt that the emotional content filling these pages is beyond anything I could have imagined when I started the book. How the story developed to its eventual emotional climax and how each of the characters lives were shaped by their past was remarkable. The past - present storylines also helped t ...more
Sue Bailey
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was fabulous!! I felt like the characters were my friends and I wanted to help them all through the book. I know when I have found a good book when I take extra time in a day to read and finish a book in only 4 days!
Almost everyone has a secret in their life that they share with no one --- or very few. The mystery of Catherine's secret throughout most of the book was very intriguing. And then, WOW!!
This is a great book for
Barbara Gowland
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book !!! Once I started it, I couldn't stop. The author wrote it in such a way that I wanted to know what was going to happen next in both the present & past. And I appreciated the separation in the story letting me know that what I was going to read next was from Catherine's/RobinLee's past, explaining her actions & feelings in the present. My heart ached so bad for Michael as his health deteriorated, & for his parents as well, knowing how helpless they felt & the problems that the ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Definitely worth reading. It’s a tale about surviving, being the person you promised your Mother you would become. To succeed, the heroine had to sever all ties. That means you have no idea what happens to those you loved and left, no idea even what they believe happened to you. A new identify also means your new life is founded on lies, until the day it implodes.

It’s a common premise, that’s been presented many times for eons. Susan Clayton-Goldner has successfully given us a story that is fres
Arlene Ross
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this novel from the very beginning as I could associate some of the early years of Robin Lee's family life to my own. She was the product of a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and I had the same situation in my life, but not to the extent that Robin Lee endured. The story is centered around strong family love but the circumstances of life take this family on a tough journey. The author has done an excellent jo
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was asked by the author if I would be willing to read a copy of her book for an honest, unbiased review. Sure, why not. What I wasn't expecting was the emotional and heartbreaking ride that this story took me on. I am a mother of a young son who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease this past year, so this story hit very close to home for me. I would do anything for our son and I can see that Catherine is the exact same way. She is one of three siblings who has a father with war-related pos ...more
Sandra King
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC in return for an honest review.
If you were granted only one book to read, I highly recommend Susan Clayton-Goldner’s novel,
A Bend in the Willow. Not only is the author an accomplished writer, with several awards to her name, this story will pull you in and play your heart strings with an unerring sense of your own humanity. Each character is so well-developed that I felt as though I was watching a play on stage. Susan Clayton-Goldner weaves a tale like no other, with a profoun
Kathy Newcomer
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started this book and couldn't quit reading until I was finished with it. This is the first book I've read by Susan Clayton-Goldner but I can guarantee it won't be the last!! I'm an avid reader, and I read romance stories most of the time, but I absolutely LOVED this book!!! The author has such a talent for bringing her characters and story to life that it felt like I was living it with them! I laughed and cried (make sure you have a box of tissues handy!), and felt the emotions of all the cha ...more
InD'tale Magazine

A five-hanky read, this emotional tale yanks on heartstrings and wrings out emotions while dragging the reader backwards through a tangled hedge.

Read full review in the 2017 October issue of InD'tale Magazine.

Linda Wilkinson
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Bend In The Willow is a heart-wrenching read, one that will take you on an unforgettable journey through the life of Robin Lee Carter from the time she is 7 years old until, at 17, she meets violence with violence and commits a crime that forces her to disappear. Forever. She recreates herself, changes her name to Catherine and is living a good life with her husband and little boy. When her son is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, she must return to the place she doesn't ever w ...more
Reeca Elliott
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-app, netgalley
Robin Lee has changed her stars. She had a horrible start on life. But, she changed everything about herself, including her name. She married a wonderful man and had a beautiful child. Then, her child developed leukemia. She must face her past and what she has done to save her little boy.

I have a love-hate relationship with this book. I wanted to bail on it a few times. However, Robin Lee’s present and her past kept me reading. The story itself keeps you interested enough to keep reading. It i
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Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the ...more

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