Abandoning loved ones, committing a crime and changing your whole identity can come with life changing consequences which Catherine Henry faces in the novel, A Bend in the Willow. However, Catherine learns to face her fears and return to a past which overrides with darkness and bad memories when it comes to saving her leukaemia suffering son. Author, Susan Clayton-Goldner created a traumatic and damaged character who had a domineering and abusive father leaving her no room to lead a normal life. Catherine’s childhood events come back to haunt her as Goldner gives the reader an insight of her discomforting past through traumatic flashbacks.
Catherine Henry is full of secrets that are all held in the town she once grew up in. After experiencing her worst day at just 17 as Robin Lee, she disappeared and was never to be seen again, until the moment she returned to her familiar town years later as somebody new. Returning to this horrible, memorable place causes her major risks but nothing she doesn't handle without a fight.
Susan Clayton-Goldner grew up in New Castle, Delaware with her parents and four brothers. Goldner’s first piece of work was a poem on the back of a church bulletin in which she got praised for by her mother and English teacher. This is where her writing journey began.
Elements of Goldner’s personal life, inspirations and influences have been expressed throughout this novel. Goldner was also the only girl out of her four siblings, her father also being a war hero was somebody she looked up to and respected, contrary to the disturbed character that is portrayed in the novel, Clifford Carter. Goldner’s father had a massive influence on her writing. His daunting past in the war when a grenade blew up in his hand changed his life forever. However, Goldner believes he had more tenacity than anybody she had ever met, he never gave up. He played a massive part in Goldner believing in herself.A strong, respectful individual is who he was. Furthermore, herself and her husband currently have a ranch in Southern Oregon where they look after Arabian horses, which was a dream they shared together. These small segments of Goldner’s personal life are what we see throughout the novel.
Questions that are raised upon Goldner’s life and those of her loved ones also dictatesthe story line. Events that are currently occurring in the world appearing in the news also inspire Goldner. She has eagerness and itching to find out more about these stories, thus Goldner answers her own questions by creating an imaginative scenario in which the reader can easily connect to.
From a literary point of view, To Kill A MockingBird, had a profound influence on Goldner as an author. Specifically the characteristics of Atticus Finch, the courage and hope he holds in order to fight for someone. This persona can also be identified in Catherine; her willingness to fight for her sons health.
‘A Bend in the Willow’ is a survivors story full of beauty and inspiration, leaving the reader touched and with a build of emotional connections to the characters. Catherine, is specifically inspiring as her optimism and determination to save her sons life is what we all cling onto.
Susan Clayton-Goldner’s successful writing career has been a respectable, successful one as she has given readers heart warming and inspirational stories. There’s a desperate need to keep reading as she puts forward damaged characters that are experiencing constant ominous events in their lives. The characters attempt to redeem themselves as individuals is what gains empathy from the reader.
Other books written by Susan Clayton-Goldner are Redemption Lake and When Time Is A River. Goldner is currently working on a new novel River of Silence which will hopefully be released in 2018.
Redemption Lake is another novel that is based upon love and survival; the need to protect one another during fearful moments. The detective in Redemption Lake named Winston Radhauser, makes another appearance in her following book;When Time Is A River, based on kidnapping - scheduled to release in the late fall of 2017.
‘A Bend in the Willow’ has received the success it deserved as it became one of Amazon’s Top 100 Hot New Releases.
Written by Bethany Welsh