As always, Barbara Wood shows her readers the life of a family that spans over several decades and ends with a happy end. But that doesn´t mean that the main figure has married the man of her dreams. No, happy end, in this case, means, that lots of answers were given to the main character and that the criminal part of the novel was solved.

The Far River*
by Barbara Wood
Publisher Turner on March 27, 2018
Genre Novel
Pages 448
Format Hardcover
Source Library 

For as long as anyone could remember, the Schaller´s and the Newman´s had been enemies. When the skeletal remains of a victim of foul play are discovered at the Schaller estate, a decades-old feud between the rival winemaking families is reignited and dark secrets begin to see the light of day. Set against the lush backdrop of the rolling hills of California's Central Coast, The New York Times best-selling author Barbara Wood's thirtieth novel is a generation-spanning saga of love, treachery, and bitterly held grudges. 
Nicole wants nothing more but to go away from what her family has built over the past century. But leaving the only home she´s ever known isn´t easy. Especially not when the remains of a person were found in one of the buildings that belong to her estate. She is forced to stay as long as the investigation is ongoing and all she can do is hope that the buyers won´t lose their interest. 

Barbara Wood writes in a soft tone. It was a nice read, but what I didn´t like was the fact, that the author obviously thinks that her readers need to be reminded every few pages or at least every chapter, why the main figure wanted to sell the estate or how another figure had come to her firstborn. It became a bit annoying during the ongoing plot to read that over and over again. On the other hand, it seems to be a style element, the author uses apparently in almost all of her books. Because I remember her doing that in another of her novels too. A long-kept secret ends up in a brutal fight and the split of two brothers combined with a lie and some misunderstandings is the structure of this story that goes over decades.

The other thing that soon bothered me a bit was the fact of how the figures were created. No doubt, the setting is gorgeous and it didn´t take me long to see the beautiful landscape this novel is set in. And seeing her figures play in a setting I´ve seen many years ago with my own eyes was wonderful. But the characters are too predictable. There is no surprise, nothing new to discover in them. 

In every Barbara Wood novel, the female figures are going through a lot. Emotionally as well as physically. But despite that, they aren´t very profound. No matter in what century the author has set them. With the figures in this novel, it is the same. 

Clara shows that she is very smart, but she lives in a time where women don´t have much to say or to decide. Sure, she knows how to get what she wants, most of the time, but that doesn´t change the fact that it is up to her husband if she can go to town or someplace else. Clara is a strong woman, yes, but I missed the special something. 

Nicole is also a strong young woman. Independent and with the knowledge that she wants nothing more but to leave the place she was born and raised. Not easy when all you ever knew; all your friends and your entire life were always bound to a certain place and you know that you´re the last of your family. Deep in her heart, she knows that she is missing something and that she wants to create something of her own. When she hears that there are letters from her great-great-grandmother she starts to see her family with different eyes. 

The Far River is from my point of view a good novel for some hours of reading snuggled up in a cozy blanket while sitting by the fire. There are no loud tones in it or huge action scenes but lots of great landscape and the story of two families who love and hate in a very passionate way. A long-kept secret ends up in a brutal fight and the split of two brothers combined with a lie and some misunderstandings is the structure of this story that goes over decades. The combination of a crime, long family history and the touch of romance in the present was well done. This might not be the best Barbara Wood novel but one you can enjoy anyway if you don´t have high expectations.

Happy reading

*The German edition published by Fischer KRÜGER on September 26, 2018.

Barbara Wood
Barbara Wood ©Gabriel Acosta

Barbara Wood was born on 30 January 1947 in Warrington, Lancashire, England, UK. Together with her parents and older brother, she immigrated to the United States. She grew up in Southern California and attended Los Angeles Schools. After High School, Barbara attended the University of California at Santa Barbara but left to train as a surgical technician. During this time, Barbara held numerous jobs, before she sold her first novel in 1976. A few years prior, Barbara met her husband, George. She is an international bestselling author with books translated into over 30 languages. In the German-speaking world alone, the total circulation of her novels is well over 14 million. The reader is transported to exotic countries that Barbara has meticulously researched to provide her fans with a true sense of the culture and history relevant to each story. In 2002 she was awarded the Corine Prize for her novel “Sacred Ground”.


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