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Cold Rock River

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  871 ratings  ·  134 reviews
In 1963 rural Georgia, with the Vietnam War cranking up, pregnant seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins discovers the diary of pregnant seventeen-year-old Tempe Jordan, a slave girl, begun as the Civil War wound down. As Cold Rock River comes to its surprising, shocking, endings, questions of family, race, love, loss, and longing are loosed from the mysterious secrets that have ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Cumberland House Publishing
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  871 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I like a book when it keeps me up late at night. Even though life was tough I never lost hope because I could tell from the very beginning that Adie was a character that would take charge of her life in a good way-which she finally did after not doing it for quite some time. I loved the southern drawl, I loved reading the words and thoughts of the characters, I loved the diary from the past. Not lots of life lessons learned but fun to get lost in the small town from the past.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What will stay the longest with me about this book is the language, the distinctive narrative that the author was so smart to opt for in this authentic read. It's very "southern" spoken language to begin with - and then once we delve into the parallel story, the slave girl's journal (Tempe), it becomes almost phonetic. But I liked that a lot. It added to the authenticity.
The events and plot-line of this book most often annoyed me, but than the language in which these events were conveyed also al
Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Oh, its over. Sad. I loved it! This is a book with a subject matter that has the making of being great or intelligence insulting and it was fabulous to me! Addie was such a good person/heroine. I dont want to say too much but I thoroughly enjoyed this. Exciting, heart wrenching, angry, disgusted, sad and happy are all emotions I felt. Not a typical classic love but a love none the less. A great summer read! Marianne I think you'd like this one too! It has a very "diary of Mattie Spenser" feel wi ...more
Chris Desmottes
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another one I couldn't put down. I loved her first novel (Roseflower Creek), so I couldn't wait to read this one. It is the story of a pregnant girl in the 60s' who is reading a jornal of a slave girl from the 1800's. It alternates between the two girls and has some really shocking twists. I loved this book - read it in about 3-4 days. I am really disappointed that her new novel is chick lit - she is too good for that genre!!!
Aug 18, 2009 rated it liked it
I read one of the reviews below that said this book was engaging and entertaining but not life moving and that is exactly the way I felt about it. Light reading, enjoyable but not memorable. Fast read.
Book Chick (Tori)
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel was an emotional roller coaster... I laughed and ugly cried.
I loved how the Adie's story intertwined with Tempe's story. Their lives were 100 years apart- both with a lot of heartbreak- yet they came full circle. I thought it was cool. :)
A fast, engaging read.
Susan Nass
interesting writing - very regional and authentic.
I really enjoyed this book. The novel, set in the small community of Hog Gap in the Appalachian Mts. of north Georgia, alternates between the story of Adie, a 17 year old girl, and a journal Adie is given telling the story of a slave named Tempe.
Adie's family had been traumatized by the drowning death of her younger sister and her father has never recovered from that. Adie carries the guilt of thinking she was to blame. At 17 years old, she ends up pregnant and marries Buck, a handsome boy who
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heart wrenching at times, joyful at others but above all, a good book.

Addie is 17, pregnant and freshly married to a good looking mama’s boy. At times he measures up to his good looks but never has the strength to be a good husband or father. During her labor, a neighbor begins reading to her from a diary written by a 17 year old slave girl. Lovely book that draws their two lives together.
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the creative way the author connected the 2 stories.
Tracie Walker
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good read , loved the historical additions .
Secrets are like stories. They have a beginning, a middle, an an end. They're shirt, or long, or in between , and they all take on a life of their own. Some go on and on, when you'd at her they not. You can close the book anytime, but it doesn't mean that you are finished. And you may think you know where they are going, but you never know for sure until you get to the end and unravel it.

The year, is 1963, in rural Cold Rock River Georgia, and the Vietnam War is just beginning to take shape and
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
COLD ROCK RIVER by Jackie Lee Miles is full of emotional and angst - perfect for those times when you want a deeper story. Having never read one of Ms. Miles works before, I can't compare it to her other stories, but I would be willing to read more of her work after this book.

Adie is the kind of character that you can't help but feel for. She's young, pregnant, and enters into a marriage that should make life easier for her. Sadly, marrying simply for the sake of her pregnancy leads to a little
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anna horner, anna eskridge, marnie, marie
J.L. Miles' Cold Rock River flows in and out of the past and present of Adie Thacker's life and occasionally transports the reader into the thicket of plantations and slavery near the time of the Civil War. The reader travels along the current of Cold Rock River and hits some brisk rapids and undercurrents, following Adie on her journey.

When Adie is a child, her family is the picture of happiness, minus the normal angst among siblings and boy troubles. However, one day their family changes irrev
Blodeuedd Finland
This was a heartbreaking tale at times, neither of the women in this book had it easy. First there is Adie Jenkins, who gets pregnant and marries at 17. But her husband does not leave his wild ways and she is pretty much left to fend for herself most of the time. But she find friendship in her neighbours and one of them, Willa Mae reads from a book. Another heartbreaking tale about a young slave girl who lost her children.

The books tells much of Adie's family history and how things happened like
Ms. B
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First thing I'll mention (and the only negative about Cold Rock River) is the font used in the ARC to depict entries from Tempe's diary, or letters written by Adie and Buck, is pretty small. Put that same small font into italics, and it made for difficult reading.

BUT. Don't let that distract you from the story itself. Cold Rock River is a story about innocence lost, life's hardships, and love's burdens. All bundled together into prose that sweeps you along until you've passed through the rapids
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cold Rock River by J.L. Miles is a wonderful, captivating piece of southern fiction that will draw you into the lives of its characters, as well as the rural Georgia setting.

Miles creates such a strong sense of what Adie, the narrator of Cold Rock River, is up against. No one in Adie's family has been the same since Adie's sister Annie died years ago. The cause of Annie's death is not revealed until the end of the book, but the reader knows it has happened and that it has created a gaping tear i
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Cold Rock River is the story of 17 year old teenage bride/mother, Adie, trying to make the most of her circumstances even though she's saddled with little education, crippling poverty, and a lout of a husband. She's very "PollyAnna" but it's endearing for the most part. Adie finds comfort in the friendship of her neighbor and midwife, Willa Mae. Adie also finds strength in the slave journal of a woman named Tempe that Willa shares with her. The commonality of their stories and the struggles of t ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Ok, where to begin... I am giving this book three stars because I think it is a worthwhile read.

Having said that, I found this book to ramble on unnecessarily about side events that really did not push the story forward nor flesh out the characters any further.

Some of the slang and colloquial speech, I do not feel was actually authentic, based on my own experiences at least, and was almost a little condescending on the part of the author.

I am aware that such situations exist, however the recurri
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Where do I start? I'm not so sure. The plot was ok, but was not spectacular. The first 100 pages or so I wanted to bang my head against the wall wondering if the story was ever going to take off and why the hell the story was so disjointed. The next 100 or so pages I wondered when the hell Adie was going to grow the hell up and stop acting like some puppy whose owner kicks it daily. Talk about being slow. Bucks brother seemed to have more common sense than this girl. Finally the last 100 pages o ...more
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, DON'T READ THE SYNOPSIS on the book jacket, as it totally gives away the entire book! What's the point of reading the thing then? Whoever is in charge of that needs to learn the fine art of subtlety while enticing the reader.

Thanks to someone, I was forewarned, so I resisted the temptation and just began to read. This is a good story with wonderful pearls of wisdom and tangible, memorable characters. It even has recipes after the ending on the very end pages of the book.

The author's
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cold Rock River" is an incredibly interesting book.. for me, it started out really good, then towards the middle it started to fall flat, and I worried that I would have to stop reading it overall and go to another book, which I think everyone hates to have to do. But I pushed on through, and finally managed to break into another spout of good reading. Before I knew it I was blowing through the rest of the book because I couldn't put it down. One part that was kinda dissatisfying for me were th ...more
Apr 23, 2009 rated it liked it
The best part of this book were the million one-liners moms and others used to teach wisdom and lessons on life, "Don't ruin the truth by stretching it", "if you're gonna take the devil for a ride, he's gonna want to drive", etc, they had a saying for every moment of their pitiful lives. I wish I had, like these women did, all these tid-bits ready at the tip of my tongue to doll out to my kids. And then later in life I might be so lucky as to hear them say something like, "Like my mom always sai ...more
Feb 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book had the potential to be a great read, as it [attempted:] to incorporate my favorite fictional themes: family, women, girls, history, black people. Unfortunately, it fell flat.

Besides the fact that characters weren't fleshed out well and most of the storyline was overwrought and predictable, the "Negro dialect" of Tempe & Willa Mae was so unauthentic that it came off as a cheesy impersonation of "us" by yet another white person on the periphery of our culture. Honestly, that's EXACT
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is historical fiction which takes place concurrently in rural Georgia during the 1960's and the 1860's. It is the story of the rural poor, slaves and freed slaves.

I found it to be a very sad book, but it was not hopeless in that most of the characters found ways to bring joy back into their difficult lives.

I did find one aspect of the book to be questionable. I found the character of Willie Mae to be a wise woman in the beginning of the book, but in the later chapters, it was revealed
May 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
There wasn't as much "mystery" to the book as I would have thought after reading the synopsis. It was still an engrossing story but no real suspense. I was a bit annoyed at the author's writing style, it seemed too simple to me - then I remembered that Adie is supposed to be an uneducated young girl in the south in the 60's, and since it's being told from her POV what else should I expect?

BUT then I realized it was the cliches that bugged me - the boozing philandering husband, the naive young m
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When I finished Cold Rock River, two words immediately came to mind: pain and hope. J.L. Miles does a superb job describing the many tragedies that plague Adie Jenkins and her family, and she's able to balance these horrible things with a sense that everything will be all right in the end--even when the end is nowhere in sight.

Cold Rock River has everything I look for in a novel. A good story with multiple subplots and connections that are not revealed until the end, compelling characters, and a
Apr 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Started this on a long drive and finished it the same day. It was a quick read and another book that helps you realize how good your life is. Can we all say T-R-A-G-E-D-Y? It was pretty tragic but still a quick, interesting read. As a side note, I read the synopsis on the cover after I had read the book and was really glad that I didn't read it before. The cover told the whole story line so I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the book as much had I already known exactly what was going to happen.
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Jackie Lee Miles, a resident of Georgia for thirty years, hails from Wisconsin via South Dakota. She considers herself “a northern girl with a southern heart”. Her paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by her great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

Ms. Miles is a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premi