The Driest Season
As her community suffers a long season of drought, sixteen-year-old Cielle endures a more personal calamity: the unexpected death of her father. On a balmy summer afternoon, she finds him hanging in the barn—the start of a dark secret that threatens her family’s livelihood. A war rages elsewhere, while in the deceptive calm of the American heartland, Cielle’s family contends with a new reality and fights not to be undone.Based on an award-winning short story, The Driest Season creates a moving portrait of Cielle’s struggle to make sense of her father’s time on earth, and of her own. Debut novelist Meghan Kenny tells, with wisdom and grit, a deeply affecting story of a young woman discovering loss, heartache, and—finally—hope.

The Driest Season Details

TitleThe Driest Season
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139780393634594
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Novels

The Driest Season Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    A slice of life in the American heartland. Boaz Wisconsin, 1943, Cielle finds her father dead, hanging from the rafters in the barn. This discovery puts the family at risk, their farm at risk, and leads Cielle on the quest to discover exactly why her beloved father did what he did. (Not a spoiler since this discovery is part of the books summary) Although America is going to war, and will touch this family, the events of the summer take precedence, as Cielle must come to terms with a huge loss a A slice of life in the American heartland. Boaz Wisconsin, 1943, Cielle finds her father dead, hanging from the rafters in the barn. This discovery puts the family at risk, their farm at risk, and leads Cielle on the quest to discover exactly why her beloved father did what he did. (Not a spoiler since this discovery is part of the books summary) Although America is going to war, and will touch this family, the events of the summer take precedence, as Cielle must come to terms with a huge loss and it's aftereffects.Cielle, soon to be sixteen, as expected, changes over this summer, grows up and comes to understand the contrary nature of man's outward personality, and the churning difficulties he harbors within. It is a slow road of often somber realizations, but beautifully written. The flashbacks to specific moments with her father were wonderfully portrayed, and emotionally touching. Family, friends, the weather affecting the farm, a first love, and a broken romance are encompassed in this novel. The descriptions of the country side are brilliantly rendered. A beautiful place that holds the family at its center, their life and livlihood caught within.The Amish, and their different standards of living, come to the aid of this small family, and bring a different sort of realization to Cielle. A quiet, internal novel about facing a devastating loss while attempting to keep external forces from taking what is theirs. ARC from edelweiss.
    more
  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Although this isn't a genre I usually read, I did enjoy The Driest Season . This is an extremely well written short story and accurate depiction of farm life in the post Depression era. I enjoyed the relationship between the sisters and how they supported each other through all their life changes. There is grief and heartbreak, growth and challenges. The girls were supported by their grandmother to take a lot more chances than most girls at this time were allowed. The strength in their family t Although this isn't a genre I usually read, I did enjoy The Driest Season . This is an extremely well written short story and accurate depiction of farm life in the post Depression era. I enjoyed the relationship between the sisters and how they supported each other through all their life changes. There is grief and heartbreak, growth and challenges. The girls were supported by their grandmother to take a lot more chances than most girls at this time were allowed. The strength in their family ties was honest and inspiring! I would recommend this story for readers who enjoy American historical fiction. It's a quick read and I appreciate the ARC from a GR give-away!
    more
  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Cielle Jacobson, sixteen years old, lived on a one hundred acre farm in Boaz, Wisconsin. The farm, owned and settled in 1863 by her Norwegian great-grandfather, was no longer Jacobson land. During the depression, old Mr. Olsen bought land from struggling farmers and leased it back to them. In summer 1943, Cielle came home from school to find her father hanging from a beam in the barn, an apparent suicide. If she were to tell anyone, her life would instantly change. She went to a neighboring farm Cielle Jacobson, sixteen years old, lived on a one hundred acre farm in Boaz, Wisconsin. The farm, owned and settled in 1863 by her Norwegian great-grandfather, was no longer Jacobson land. During the depression, old Mr. Olsen bought land from struggling farmers and leased it back to them. In summer 1943, Cielle came home from school to find her father hanging from a beam in the barn, an apparent suicide. If she were to tell anyone, her life would instantly change. She went to a neighboring farm but told no one about her discovery.The discovery of Lee Jacobson's body and "tractor accident" as his cause of death was a crafted cover up of lies and deception. If Mr. Olsen knew that the death wasn't accidental, it would contractually void any buy-back agreement for the farm.Many Boaz residents were unable or unwilling to address their personal issues and created smoke screens and omissions. Cielle, however, wanted to understand why her father left. She wasn't ready for this sudden change. What do you do when loved ones leave?Cielle experienced tumultuous change in 1943, uncertainty for sure, but her strength of character was slowly developing. Life as she knew it no longer existed. Did life cycles create positive experiences as well? "The Driest Season" by Meghan Kenny is a heartfelt, coming of age novel I highly recommend. Thank you W.W. Norton & Company and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Driest Season".
    more
  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    It is during the summer of 1943 when Cielle, short for Lucille, comes home from summer school to her farm in Wisconsin and finds her father dead, hanging from a beam in the barn. She is only fifteen, but she has just entered adulthood in a rush. One thing she knew from the time she was a little girl was that she wanted to be seen and known. She wanted recognition. She wanted to be noticed. She wanted to be strong.She certainly gets her chance now. Cielle is shy and a loner, but she was close to It is during the summer of 1943 when Cielle, short for Lucille, comes home from summer school to her farm in Wisconsin and finds her father dead, hanging from a beam in the barn. She is only fifteen, but she has just entered adulthood in a rush. One thing she knew from the time she was a little girl was that she wanted to be seen and known. She wanted recognition. She wanted to be noticed. She wanted to be strong.She certainly gets her chance now. Cielle is shy and a loner, but she was close to her father, or as close as anyone could be as there was always a little something that kept him apart from others. Gradually, she tries to piece together what happened while those around her are still in denial or full of anger or just want to move on. But none of that works for Cielle. Cielle had wanted answers since she was a small child. She wanted to know how the world was made, and why people said and did the things they did. She wanted to know her place in the universe, her purpose, and what it all meant. She wanted to know why, but no one ever had any answers for her. Her father had told her she should find her own answers and not rely on others’ explanations of the world, and not to rely on others to tell her what to do or what was true. Her father had always made sense to her, until now.Cielle has some decisions to make, and she knows any answers she finds might not help, and they might even change how she saw her father and maybe not for the better. But she presses on, needing to understand both her father and herself. Maybe to survive you had to be able to look beyond ugly, dark things in the world, even if it meant pretending. Maybe the people who could do that were the happy ones.This story is told simply and without being sentimental. The author allows the reader to feel things on their own without pushing emotions upon them. It is a sensitive portrayal of a family and their close friends dealing with one man’s suicide or not dealing with it, their struggles seen through one young woman’s eyes. The writing is superb in many different areas. The reader knows Cielle’s thoughts, but is never inside her head for too long, avoiding a sense of claustrophobia too common in first person narratives. Instead, there is plenty of dialogue and action to balance it out, and wonderfully descriptive passages that never slow down the story such as this one after the funeral:She played by memory, her fingers moving of their own accord. There was not a noise in the room except for the violin. All the windows in the house were open and a cool gust of wind came in behind her mother and the top of her dress puffed full of air. Cielle played to the wind, to the darkening sky coming toward them, to her family gathered in one room, all her family, all part of her, together. This is the sound of sadness, she thought. This is the sound of how the living remember the dead.There is a dark underside to this story with its secrets and lies lurking below a veneer of normalcy. The tension within it is like an expanding bubble about to break and release anger, truth and sorrow. There is a melancholy mood throughout the book, but amazingly for the subject matter, it is not depressing and rather enriching. My only complaint, which stops me from giving this book five stars, is that the story, as short as it is, feels drawn out and is sometimes repetitive when voicing Cielle’s observations. This may be so because this short novel was based on a short story by the author who expanded upon it to publish it in book form. Still, this may not bother some people, and it does not detract from the enlightening journey ahead for Cielle and the reader. People survive all sorts of things, Cielle thought, and love is one of them. There is no simple straight answer in life. There is no single cause for anything. People survive all sorts of things, she thought, and loss is one of them.
    more
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 starsThis is a quiet little story about loss and the overcoming of emotions. Grief, loss, and the remaking of a family is seen through the eyes of a 16 year old girl, who has found her father hanging in their barn. Asking why, Cielle is looking for answers. As her life totally changes, her sister moves away, her Grandmother returns to her own home, a friend leaves for the military and her Mother narrowly misses a nervous breakdown, Cielle searches for the answer as to why things change. Ken 3.75 starsThis is a quiet little story about loss and the overcoming of emotions. Grief, loss, and the remaking of a family is seen through the eyes of a 16 year old girl, who has found her father hanging in their barn. Asking why, Cielle is looking for answers. As her life totally changes, her sister moves away, her Grandmother returns to her own home, a friend leaves for the military and her Mother narrowly misses a nervous breakdown, Cielle searches for the answer as to why things change. Kenny has written a very good novel in a quiet, subtle way. Except for the details of the father hanging in the barn, which happens in the first few pages, the rest of the story is told in a mellow subdued fashion. This book does not scream of the changes in life, but flows in a relaxed easy-going laid-back way, even though some of those life changes are cruel or hurtful. A good novel on grief and loss softened by the authors fluid movement of words and thoughts.
    more
  • Meigan
    January 1, 1970
    Realistically portraying life in the heart of farming country in America right on the brink of entering WWII, The Driest Season tells the story of a family trying to keep it together when everything is falling apart. 16 year old Cielle is the one who finds her father, hanging from the barn rafters after his suicide. Grappling with the hows and whys and how they’re supposed to move on afterwards, she and her family are thrust into a world of secrets and how nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Realistically portraying life in the heart of farming country in America right on the brink of entering WWII, The Driest Season tells the story of a family trying to keep it together when everything is falling apart. 16 year old Cielle is the one who finds her father, hanging from the barn rafters after his suicide. Grappling with the hows and whys and how they’re supposed to move on afterwards, she and her family are thrust into a world of secrets and how nothing is ever as simple as it seems. The only thing that’s certain is life will go on for the rest of the family, but it will certainly never be the same. Exploring mental illness and loss, this story packs quite the emotional punch despite its short page count and certainly doesn’t waste a single word. Every character was dimensional and fully developed, the world was realistically portrayed, and each and every aspect of this short novel was there to serve a purpose. Quite a feat to deliver all of the above in just 192 pages, but Kenny delivered beautifully. All in all, The Driest Season was an enjoyable and quick story of heartbreak and hope and family, and certainly one that’ll tug on the old heartstrings a bit. Highly recommended and I’ll definitely be watching for anything else by Meghan Kenny. *I received a free copy through Goodreads giveaways.
    more
  • Carla
    January 1, 1970
    I so enjoyed this book set in Wisconsin during World War II. Fifteen year old Cielle is wise beyond her years and the death of her father has her questioning the secrets that are being kept, and her own place in the world. With wonderful character development, I was instantly a party to Cielle's thoughts and feelings. This is Meghan Kenny's debut, and what a wonderful debut it is. This book will be available in mid February. My thanks to Netgalley and W.W. Norton and Company for access to this b I so enjoyed this book set in Wisconsin during World War II. Fifteen year old Cielle is wise beyond her years and the death of her father has her questioning the secrets that are being kept, and her own place in the world. With wonderful character development, I was instantly a party to Cielle's thoughts and feelings. This is Meghan Kenny's debut, and what a wonderful debut it is. This book will be available in mid February. My thanks to Netgalley and W.W. Norton and Company for access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Fifteen year old Cielle struggles to make sense of her father’s time on earth, and of her own. A war rages elsewhere, while in the deceptive calm of the American heartland, Cielle’s family contends with a new reality and fights not to be undone.This was an enjoyable quick read and appropriate for young teen and adults. 3.25☆
    more
  • Donna Everhart
    January 1, 1970
    Solid 4 of 5 stars - read my review here: https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book...
  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    Fifteen year old Ciella life is forever changed when she walks into the barn on her family's farm in Wisonsin. She finds her father hanging from one of the beams and if word gets out he committed suicide Ciella and her sister and mother could lose their farm. This is a story of grief and growing up set in the 1940s during World War II.The author originally wrote a short story with the same title and this is more of an expanded version of the story. Clocking in at under 200 pages it does read mor Fifteen year old Ciella life is forever changed when she walks into the barn on her family's farm in Wisonsin. She finds her father hanging from one of the beams and if word gets out he committed suicide Ciella and her sister and mother could lose their farm. This is a story of grief and growing up set in the 1940s during World War II.The author originally wrote a short story with the same title and this is more of an expanded version of the story. Clocking in at under 200 pages it does read more like an extended story than a full length novel but it doesn't make it any less satisfying. Even though it deals with serious subjects there is something very simplistic about it. I really enjoyed this one and would definitely check out any future books by the author. I won this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
    more
  • Anne Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting story about a young girl, growing up in a small Mid-Western town, and the changes around the world that would impact her. Both her changes and her famiy's changes.Interesting characters and realistic story.
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, melancholy novel. Somewhat reminiscent of Larry Watson’s fiction, putting this book in excellent company. I highly recommend this short, quiet story.
  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    Quiet, sometimes melancholy book about the aftermath of a farmer's suicide in the 1940s. The main character is the farmer's daughter, Cielle, and she wonders how their lives will change now that her father is gone. The stigma of suicide and mental illness are touched upon. This book was based on a short story, but at less than 200 pages, it's really more of a novella.I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
    more
  • Martha
    January 1, 1970
    A thoughtful story dealing with the effects of change on a teenager who is confronted with life altering changes during the summer of 1943. The world is at war, the midwestern farming community where she lives is in the middle of a drought, and Ciele finds her father, a suicide, hanging in the barn. She fumbles with the concept of moving on as she searches for bits of her father still left in her world. The writing is subtle, doesn’t so much wrench your heart as get you thinking about what slips A thoughtful story dealing with the effects of change on a teenager who is confronted with life altering changes during the summer of 1943. The world is at war, the midwestern farming community where she lives is in the middle of a drought, and Ciele finds her father, a suicide, hanging in the barn. She fumbles with the concept of moving on as she searches for bits of her father still left in her world. The writing is subtle, doesn’t so much wrench your heart as get you thinking about what slips from our grasp just as we feel we have a hold on it. Ciels’s relationship with her sister is beautifully drawn as each weathers her own emotional storm.
    more
  • Gina Smith
    January 1, 1970
    The Driest Season is a beautifully written book set in a small town in Wisconsin, 1943. The main character, almost 16 year old Cielle, comes home from summer school to find her father has killed himself in the family barn. What follows afterward is her struggle to find answers during a time when speaking about suicide was taboo. This is a coming of age story of Cielle’s personal strength, peppered with touching flashbacks of time spent with her father. At one point Cielle muses, “It seemed being The Driest Season is a beautifully written book set in a small town in Wisconsin, 1943. The main character, almost 16 year old Cielle, comes home from summer school to find her father has killed himself in the family barn. What follows afterward is her struggle to find answers during a time when speaking about suicide was taboo. This is a coming of age story of Cielle’s personal strength, peppered with touching flashbacks of time spent with her father. At one point Cielle muses, “It seemed being a good person didn’t mean anything at all, it didn’t mean you got what you wanted or kept people close or that your life would turn out the way you thought and hoped it would.” The end of the story leaves a lot of unanswered questions- which is perfectly planned. I truly enjoyed the superbly written book.I received this ARC copy from Goodreads. Thank you Goodreads and author, Megan Kenny.
    more
  • Diana Mack
    January 1, 1970
    a very quiet story of a farmer who commits suicide at his farm and his 15 yr old daughter Cielle finds him. this story doesn't have a lot of action..it is almost a coming of age story. the suicide brings out some repercussions that cielle has to try and understand at the same time that she is experiencing her first kids, her sister leaving home and interactions with other characters during WWII.cielle is likeable and I admired her.read this for a break from all the "if you liked gone girl" stuff
    more
  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and the publisher was kind enough to send a second copy when the first got lost in the mail. This is a quiet and moving story about sixteen-year-old Cielle coping with and trying to make sense of her father's death in rural Wisconsin as her life changes in other profound ways - her family's property is hit by a tornado, her neighbor goes off to war and her sister heads to Madison for college. The imagery was strong and pulled me in right away. I also I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and the publisher was kind enough to send a second copy when the first got lost in the mail. This is a quiet and moving story about sixteen-year-old Cielle coping with and trying to make sense of her father's death in rural Wisconsin as her life changes in other profound ways - her family's property is hit by a tornado, her neighbor goes off to war and her sister heads to Madison for college. The imagery was strong and pulled me in right away. I also appreciated the strong relationship Cielle's family had with the local Amish community. At less than 200 pages, this is a quick read and well worth it.
    more
  • Threasa
    January 1, 1970
    Another book I won on Goodreads, and I thank you. The Driest Season is the story of 15-year old Cielle Jacobsen. She finds her father hanging in the barn after he has committed suicide. It tells of how she deals with the loss, what questions she has, and how she works through her grief. The time is during World War II, and the book tells of young men leaving the town to join the war. A very interesting read.
    more
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I'm so happy I won this. What a great story. It's set in 1943 and read like a mid-century book. It was a slow, but the characters and setting were well developed. Kind of reminded me of Willa Cather, but maybe only because there was a farm involved.
    more
  • TJ
    January 1, 1970
    Just finished The Driest Season – AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL BOOK!!!! This is a lovely short gem of a book. Ended too early, so much more to tell. This is one of those books that catches you in the first few paragraphs and you don’t want to stop reading, it is a short powerful story condensed to about 200 pages. The story is told by Cielle, a fifteen year girl that finds her father in the barn who had hung himself as she comes home from school. It is a gut wrenching story of how she tries to find why he Just finished The Driest Season – AWESOME, BEAUTIFUL BOOK!!!! This is a lovely short gem of a book. Ended too early, so much more to tell. This is one of those books that catches you in the first few paragraphs and you don’t want to stop reading, it is a short powerful story condensed to about 200 pages. The story is told by Cielle, a fifteen year girl that finds her father in the barn who had hung himself as she comes home from school. It is a gut wrenching story of how she tries to find why he would have done this and how she deals with the loss and so many other changes taking place in her life. The book revolves around her family and the consequences of suicide or an accidental death and the ramifications of ownership of their land. I love the way the story really wrapped everything up in a nice neat package in the last few chapters. I so enjoyed this book, the author has a way of describing the scenery and the locations so well that you can picture the farm, the barn, Ginger, her bicycle, and the neighbor’s houses. I felt so many emotions during the entire read, and related to every character. I could even picture the train station scenes with Brodie and then with Helen in her white dress as they pulled away. I was raised on a farm and this book took me back many many years where I could picture my 15th summer, she nailed it..... the feelings and emotions were spot on. I highly recommend this read, several hours well spent. This book will stick with me for a long, long time. I thank Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book for my unbiased review.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    “People survive all sorts of things, and love is one of them.”From the shocking opening scene to the expansive ending, this coming of age is an exquisitely told story. It reads like a European film: tight cast, evocative setting, short time-frame, liminal historical moment. It’s a quiet world in which everything happens. The language is spare ——dry as the season that causes a desperate farmer to end his life.I may as well try to describe a fine wine or a perfect poem. Meghan Kenny’s book does a “People survive all sorts of things, and love is one of them.”From the shocking opening scene to the expansive ending, this coming of age is an exquisitely told story. It reads like a European film: tight cast, evocative setting, short time-frame, liminal historical moment. It’s a quiet world in which everything happens. The language is spare ——dry as the season that causes a desperate farmer to end his life.I may as well try to describe a fine wine or a perfect poem. Meghan Kenny’s book does a fine job of speaking for itself. I fell under its spell and was so reluctant to emerge that I put off reading the last five pages for a week. “The Driest Season” reads like a dream. An old story told by an ancestor. A rumor. Observation is at the core of it all. Loving focus on single details pans out to softer views of landscapes. Weather, temperature, and sound intensify the emotion. “A breeze came through and rustled leaves. Cielle stood a moment at the door, expecting the world to stand still with her, but it didn’t. Clouds like stretched gauze moved quickly above, the tire swing in the oak tree shifted, and its chains creaked.”Emotion held tightly in the body stiffens or releases of its own accord. “‘There’s been an accident,’ she said. Then she cried out, almost like a yell, and bit her fist as tears came.”“She watched him from the corner of her eye as he tried to hold sadness in his body so she wouldn’t see. But she felt sadness, like a current running from his hand into hers, grief in his quick jerks.”“He kept his finger on the envelop and nodded his head up and down. Cielle stood so still she felt all her weight on the bottom of her feet.”This is a story of hardship, grit, determination, soldiering on. It was easy to settle into, knowing I was in expert hands. This book is not a relaxing, escapist read; quite the opposite. Every moment is captured cinematically and in unexpected, alternately shocking and poignant images: A grieving mother stays in a bathtub so long the water has grown cold. On the day of a man’s funeral, a tornado flattens the barn where he hanged himself. “The world needed to wipe out this place where something bad had happened. The barn couldn’t be there anymore.”A hundred Amish neighbors show up one day to build a new barn.The protagonist Cielle is fifteen. The close point of view feels intimate, familiar. It’s easy to empathize with her. Often, she wonders about life, love, loss, grief, and the future. “Maybe to survive you had to be able to look beyond ugly, dark things in the world, even if it meant pretending. Maybe the people who could do that were the happy ones.”Kenny gracefully folds in Cielle’s poignant memories of her father, of their walks and outings, hunting for dinosaur bones or arrowheads, or stargazing. These scenes of a man through his daughter’s eyes are so affecting partly because of the contrast with our first introduction to him. The simple stories of their adventures deepen the intensity of his tragic final decision, despite the many ties holding him to this life.“Her father was fascinated with all things old, lost, buried—and because of that, so was she. She loved the idea of discovery, reclamation, and a continuum.” There is a lovely dynamic balance between action, Cielle’s reflections, narrative description, scene setting, and dialog. “The Driest Season” reads like an extended short story. The absence of moisture and the tightly-held emotion combine with the clear-eyed observation of details give the impression of things being held at arm’s length. People do not act rashly. Characters are described in enviably economical yet vivid ways. “Helen wore a white eyelet dress and had braids. She was eighteen and tall, and her strides were slow and long. She was a beautiful girl.” There are several strong female characters. Cielle’s mother, despite our shocking first introduction to her at her most vulnerable and unstable, proves to be reliable, practical, and loving in quiet, fierce ways. She wouldn’t consider self-pity.“‘Everyone has something to be sad about,’ Cielle’s mother said. ‘Don’t ever forget that.’”Cielle’s grandmother is equally wise: “‘Nothing romantic about love, Cielle,’ her grandmother said. ‘It’s hard work to love somebody. Nobody ever tells you that. And it’s hardest when they leave you without reason or warning.’”In one scene, Cielle and her grandmother cut a field of hay, because women can do such things if the need arises. Another mother—whose beloved first son was ruined by the distant war—has turned to drink. But she manages to be more or less functional. Cielle’s older sister also endures not only the sudden, cruel loss of her father, but also her fiancé deciding on his own to enlist in the war. Still, she stays true to her plans to go to college.The sexism of the era is captured with matter-of-fact subtlety and an absence of judgment: “She was athletic and sturdy, comfortable on a horse, a good rider, and Cielle felt lucky to have learned about horses from her. If she weren’t a woman, she would have been widely respected for her horsemanship.”Though grief, disappointment, fear, love, longing and frustration are pent up in each of the characters, there is no explosion, no release. There is only this moment and the next, all contained within a horizon which seems “within reach, that narrow space where day begins and ends, that separation between heaven and earth.”
    more
  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Poignant, beautifully written coming of age story.
  • Polly Krize
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.1940s Wisconsin, and young Cielle finds her father has hung himself in their barn. Cielle's journey to find why he did this, and what it will do to her very existence, makes up this very sensitive and touching novel.
    more
  • Liz Freeman
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Wisconsin farming town during WWII. Character driven. setting is memorable--the farmland, its community struggles with weather. Basic coming of age story done well: 15 year old Cielle struggling to make sense of her father's death, family loyalties, secrets and how she goes from loss and heartache to hope.
    more
  • Catherine Broadhead
    January 1, 1970
    This novel had me hooked from the first sentence. Another great work by Meghan Kenny.
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    A quiet yet beautiful book!
  • Edwin Howard
    January 1, 1970
    THE DRIEST SEASON by Meghan Kenny is the story of a fifteen year old girl, Cielle, who is coping with her father's death and with her own maturity and self-discovery. Cielle walks in on her father's suicidial hanging, then his death is pronounced to the world as an accidental demise. In Cielle's search for the truth and why it was hidden, she learns about hope, love, and survival. Setting the story in the 1940's in Wisconsin provides a melancholy backdrop to a melancholy story that in the end, THE DRIEST SEASON by Meghan Kenny is the story of a fifteen year old girl, Cielle, who is coping with her father's death and with her own maturity and self-discovery. Cielle walks in on her father's suicidial hanging, then his death is pronounced to the world as an accidental demise. In Cielle's search for the truth and why it was hidden, she learns about hope, love, and survival. Setting the story in the 1940's in Wisconsin provides a melancholy backdrop to a melancholy story that in the end, provides hope that Cielle and her family will move on and grow from this ordeal. The author, Kenny, writes the book through the eyes of Cielle, which for the reader is enjoyable and challenging at the same time. While the innermost thoughts and feelings of Cielle are clear at all times, everyone around's motives are vague and hard to figure out, which is true when a fifteen year old young woman is trying to figure those intentions, but as a reader it left me missing something. Maybe Kenny is trying to consider that people can be vague and unclear and having the book mimic that struggle of understanding is what the author is trying to accomplish. Challenging a reader can be good, but sometimes clarity and straightforwardness is a good thing too. Thank you to W. W. Norton & Company, Meghan Kenny, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
    more
  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    Cielle is sharp and connected to the people around her, not missing a beat when investigating her father's death and observing the adults. In decisions--like driving a tractor, going away to college, etc--you also see generational differences. It is WWII and her Wisconsin community is enduring a long season of drought. Despite the personal and political upheavel, Cielle sees the world as something she will participate in: "She was not going to be quiet. She was not going to be well mannered, uns Cielle is sharp and connected to the people around her, not missing a beat when investigating her father's death and observing the adults. In decisions--like driving a tractor, going away to college, etc--you also see generational differences. It is WWII and her Wisconsin community is enduring a long season of drought. Despite the personal and political upheavel, Cielle sees the world as something she will participate in: "She was not going to be quiet. She was not going to be well mannered, unsuspecting, or go unnoticed." (130)Kenny beautifully weaves Cielle's heartache and growth into the Wisconsin setting. Her prose has poetic soul. "The smells marked the end of summer and the coming of autumn. Life into death into life, again and again and again." (189)I had the pleasure of hearing Kenny read in Baltimore on 4/7. Hear her read if you can. Her straight-forward delivery is powerful.
    more
  • Vel Veeter
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like I have to recalibrate and reconfigure my ratings scheme. For the record, I don’t really use the one described on this site. Because I use Goodreads and because I also have been rating books for a while, the scale here is just not right for me.So for me: Five Stars means something that I think is utterly in sync with my mode of being, which hits me perfectly, which is something meaningful in my reading and thinking about it, and something that has that transcendent quality to it.Four I feel like I have to recalibrate and reconfigure my ratings scheme. For the record, I don’t really use the one described on this site. Because I use Goodreads and because I also have been rating books for a while, the scale here is just not right for me.So for me: Five Stars means something that I think is utterly in sync with my mode of being, which hits me perfectly, which is something meaningful in my reading and thinking about it, and something that has that transcendent quality to it.Four stars means it’s very very good. It’s an A or A-. I think it’s good, it’s well-written, or interesting or something like that, and it lacks that transcendence of the 5 stars but it’s otherwise high quality.Three means it’s fine. Sometimes a three is a bare there but perfectly ok book. Sometimes it’s a disgraced four. But it’s not good enough and bad enough for a different rating.Two means I thought it was bad.One means it’s gross or offensive or barely rates.This book is about as three stars as it gets. It’s never going to be more than barely being there and being perfectly ok. It’s a fine book…no shade, but no warmth either. It has a very good opening chapter. The rest is ok too, but nothing much happens in the book, and I feel like it’s a distilled book in a lot of ways, but it didn’t do much beyond that.
    more
  • Irene Adam
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This is a short but powerful story. The setting is a Wisconsin farm in 1943 and the boys are going off to WW II. A young girl discovers that her father has hanged himself in the barn when she comes home from school. Her mother with assistance from a neighbor covers it up and calls it a tractor accident. We feel the stigma to suicide in the community throug I received a free e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. This is a short but powerful story. The setting is a Wisconsin farm in 1943 and the boys are going off to WW II. A young girl discovers that her father has hanged himself in the barn when she comes home from school. Her mother with assistance from a neighbor covers it up and calls it a tractor accident. We feel the stigma to suicide in the community throughout the story. Then a tornado destroys the barn. Who is going to cut and bale the hay and where will they store it? What is going to happen to the family? What is going to happen to the farm and land? As happened so often during and after the Great Depression the land was bought by a neighbor and rented back to the family with the option to buy it back. Will the owner of the land discover that it was a suicide and void their contract to buy the land back? Meghan is a very descriptive writer. This is a great short story and I’d like to see the story and its characters developed further. I’d really like to know what happens to this family. I look forward to reading more from Meghan Kenny in the future.
    more
Write a review