The Last River Child was next on my pile of books to be read. I thought I'd pick it up just before bed, read a chapter or two to get into it and then take it work to read at lunch. Well - 2 1/2 hours later, I looked up and saw what time it was! I had become completely lost in the story.
The Last River Child opens in 1914 in Walvern, a small rural village, set in Ontario, Canada. Seth Staynor, his wife and two daughters, Peg and Sarah, live on a farm on the outskirts, near the Walvern River.
The inhabitants of Walvern are a superstitious lot. Every child is told the story of the river child - a spirit trapped beneath the water. It will try to lure a child close enough to look in their eyes and escape to dry ground. Once there, it will cause trouble and bring bad luck - droughts, crops will fail and more.
Peg Staynor has been branded as a river child from birth. She is shunned by the town folk and even her own father. Her mother has always protected her, but when she dies just as war is declared, Peg's position is even more precarious.
It is Peg's journey and strength that made this such a captivating read. Despite her treatment, Peg has no urge to leave the farm. Not so with her sister Sarah - she yearns for the city. As war is declared and the world changes, those changes reach Walvern as well. Peg will be the last river child.
Bloomfield has captured the feel of small town Ontario perfectly. Her descriptions of the farming and town ring true. Her prose are smooth and effortless. I especially enjoyed the letters written between Peg and a young man from Walvern stationed in France.
This is Lori Ann Bloomfield's debut novel and it was a gem of a find. I look forward to reading more from this author.