Starwallow and The Simpler~reviewed on March 21, 2021 on Amazon and GoodReads:
“Scenes of intimacy that are fluent and dense. Lives are lived between the momentous, as lives must be. This book takes the ordinary and turns it mystical. The setting is the mild, wild west. In this second book in a trilogy, characters are further illuminated. They are lit. And each authentic character continues to inspire. It’s a story of foundational connections that may be broken but never vanish.”
“An astounding ending to a remarkable trilogy. . . [begins Spears, though work in the fourth is in progress] Okay [she continues] . . . how often do you read a book that has an ending that is utterly unforeseen? Ready to have your mind twisted? The writing is haunting, lush and soul-piercing.”~Linda Spears, Film and Television Production Sound Recorder
“Addictive and immersive, this series is a must-read…
Carrier combines love and intrigue with magical realism to build a stunning literary series set in rural Wyoming, Italy, Paris, and Ireland. In the debut installment, Senga is struggling to realize her true purpose in life as accidental death of her only daughter, nine-year-old Emily, weighs heavy on her mind. The second installment in the series sees Senga gradually coming to terms with her grief as Sebastian, a brilliant Danish artist, comes into her life. In the third installment, Senga finds herself following a magical realism thread that takes her to Ireland. She must weigh her own ability that makes her see what others cannot see. Carrier devotes considerable attention to developing her characters, especially Senga who is greatly affected by the tragic events of her past. The passages exploring Senga’s mental state, particularly after she loses her daughter to the tragic accident are haunting and raw. She balances the increasingly entangled lives of Senga and her friends, including the endearing Stricklands, Sebastian, Joe, Gabe, and Francesca with skill and precision. Carrier elegantly weaves the old legend into the main storyline, and High Wolf’s ancient story is as fascinating as Senga’s ongoing tale. Though it takes time to settle into Senga’s intricate world in the first installment, Carrier’s assured, lyrical prose expertly guides the reader throughout. The second and third installments read like a breeze, and new readers will have no trouble following Senga’s story. The plot unravels at a tantalizingly leisured pace, and carrier’s immersive prose keep the pages turning. The characters’ complex relationships with one another are brilliantly portrayed, and the exquisitely detailed world and expert plotting are an added bonus. Along the way, Carrier explores deeper questions of love, life, regret, grief, racism, and the human cost of obsession and control. Intrigue, passion and madness, and hints of magical realism with tiny magical moments will keep readers spellbound from start to finish. With its Intricate worldbuilding, heartrending emotions, and expert characterization, this imaginatively told tale is sure to impress both the lovers of women’s fiction and literary fiction. Readers will eagerly await Carrier’s next.”~The Prairies Book Review
Watch this space for more information and reviews. And here’s one from The Prairies Book Review. I am grateful for their sensibilities. The Canadian reviewer has followed the series and I wonder at their responses, with wonder. Many thanks for reading, and feel free to offer your thoughts.
“Tasteful, elegant, and complex… Masterfully drawn.
Carrier’s third installment in The Riven Country Series spins a tale of love, obsession, and madness, winding through the streets of Paris to a demesne in Ireland, and Devils Tower in Wyoming’s Black Hills. Things are looking up for Sebastian, Senga’s Danish lover, who is in his home country for his photography exhibit, centering on “Intuitive Portraits” of Senga. But a startling entrance and incident at the Paris exhibition threatens to shatter his peace of mind. Meanwhile, Senga is forced to pay the price for her ability to see what others cannot after a series thread of magical realism follows her to Ireland.
Senga has aged twenty years since Carrier introduced her to readers in the first book, and despite her change of circumstances, readers will find her voice is still intact, as is Carrier’s ability to structure her characters without losing their innermost essences. Though obsession and madness rule a significant portion of the storyline, this is a story with psychological meat, that of love, what it means to be attentive, and the relationships among free will and forced obligations.
Those familiar with Carrier’s earlier books in the series will welcome the return of the lovely Stricklands, the endearing pair of Gabe and Francesca, the Two Bears and their adopted son, Joe. There’s plenty of psychological depth here, and the novel can be read as a standalone but new reader will be better off reading the series in order to get a better grasp of Senga’s world. Lyrically written, poignant, and wholly transporting, the novel is sure to delight lovers of literary fiction.” ~The Prairies Book Review
Interview with Catherine Wheeler on Wyoming Public Radio, May 2020:
“Renée Carrier’s novel, The Riven Country of Senga Munro, draws upon elements found in both the rough magic of North Carolina’s mountainous back-of-beyond and Wyoming’s tough and tender landscapes. Carrier has created a character who can stand her ground among some of literature’s iconic women. The novel is to be treasured in so many ways, all of them well worth getting to know better.” ~Morgan Callan Rogers, Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea.
“It’s not like any style of writing I’ve seen. The phrasing is totally unique. It’s like poetry. . . A considerable accomplishment and a gift; a big life lived small, made big by attention to detail. A story peopled with whole souls. Kindness, a matter-of-fact kindness, fully expressed, that creates a rumble in your heart. Sensual, intimate. In fact, all the relationships feel intensely connected. The way we are.” ~Linda Spears, Film and TV Production Sound Recordist
Find The Riven Country of Senga Munro at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1734043709
“Explores the distance between home, and the travel necessary to come home to oneself.” Literary fiction with a strand of magic realism. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1734043717
“Carrier has outdone herself as she returns with this heartwarming second installment in The Riven Country Series that plunges readers back into the world of her extraordinary characters’ lives. The pain of losing Emily has not left Senga’s heart, but life has been kind to her otherwise: with a gentle, extraordinary man at her side, a close group of friends, and the quiet country life Senga is content. After getting an unexpected inheritance, Senga decides to see her old grandmother in Italy, but the trip will bring more than she hoped for. Meanwhile, the Berry place outlaws are back in their back-country hideout. An accident that deserves compassion bring them face to face with Senga. But will she be able to offer it? Carrier efficiently builds an array of worlds, sketching both her present-day characters’ endearing worlds and the old Intriguing world of High Wolf with nuance and delicacy. Carrier’s diverse cast is beautifully rendered, and the connection between her characters is both contemplative and heartening. Senga’s inner turmoil is balanced with the quiet optimism she holds for life in general. Though readers don’t get to spend much time with High Wolf, he with his perception, insight, and compassion leaves a lasting impression. This sweeping tale is as much a life story as it is a meditation on love, grief, and inspiration. Readers who love the first installment will find this one to be an absolute knockout. quiet and hopeful literary tale that marvelously explores the meaning of life, friendship, and family. A treat for lovers of literary fiction.” ~The Prairies Book Review
Opening the beautiful cover was only the first of many delights in reading Renee’s book, A SINGULAR NOTION. With a deft hand she weaves her spiritual and personal life struggles with the oncoming death of her mother–and event which many of us have experienced. Her writing is poetic and yet strong, and her use of quotes from other great writers and thinkers indicates the level of her own wise thinking. I think we need more books like this that explore the making of soul in a sometimes crazy world. Well done, Renee!! I intend to give this book to my sisters and friends as gifts and recommend others do the same. ~P. Lee
“Like most little boys of five I, too, wanted to be a locomotive fireman or policeman “when I grow up,” however, a flying circus came to town for the annual Fourth of July celebration in 1925 at the fair ground—only four blocks from our house—and my role in life was forever cast that day.” ~Paul Latiolais, Colonel, USAF