A fleeting glimpse of a girl bathing brings love at first sight. But will they ever meet again?
Georgia, 1924. Fourteen-year-old Tenny is determined to change her fate. After running away from bleak prospects to a tiny town, she fights to find a respectable place to stay. But with scant belongings and little money, she’s soon battling for survival in a world of dangerous men.
Pete could never forget the vision of the pretty girl he saw washing in a river. But the aspiring medical student has grand plans for his future, and pursuing the affections of the town belle is his biggest goal. Yet when he eventually catches his bride-to-be, it may not lead to the blissful union he imagined.
Cleverly lying her way into nursing school, Tenny’s blossoming friendship with the young doctor-in-training ends in heartbreak when he marries another woman. But after Pete’s life is turned upside down with an invalid wife and a needy newborn, it’s Tenny he leans on for support.
Will their hearts turn aside, or will they take a second chance for real love?
The River Nymph is a heartfelt women’s fiction novel. If you like emotional journeys, well-researched settings, and strong-minded heroines, then you’ll adore Anne Lovett’s Southern historical saga.
Lovett’s writing style is lyrical, with humble sensory depictions—an “evil-smelling” iron tonic, a clip-clopping mule—that pull the reader in. Her narrative expertly combines the stories of a host of characters, though Tenny always stands foremost. Tenny’s transformation from the daughter of a sharecropper to a well-educated nurse is admirable and uplifting, highlighting her grit and determination at overcoming the odds against her as she endures rape, an unwanted pregnancy, and heartbreak.
The author’s attention to class and racial distinctions reveals the tenor of the times. She references how both Ned and Tenny have changed their manner of speaking to distance themselves from their poor origins and alludes to the ease at which a black man is framed for a hit-and-run car accident. The pace of Lovett’s writing never falters throughout the lengthy narrative, which will appeal to any fan of stories set in the early-20th-century South.
Takeaway: This engrossing tale of a determined young woman escaping poverty in 1920s Georgia will capture readers’ hearts.
Great for fans of Delia Owens’s Where the Crawdads Sing, Jojo Moyes’s The Giver of Stars.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B