The Mill River Redemption
“Ultimately, Chan shows that family, marriages, and friendships involve devotion, work, and the willingness to heal the past in order to save them.”
The Mill River Redemption is a novel in the genre of literary fiction by author Darcie Chan. Primarily taking place in the fictional town of Mill River, Vermont, this is a sequel to The Mill River Recluse. The Mill River Redemption focuses on a widowed mother and her two daughters who are forced to move to Mill River as children and to grudgingly return as adults. Chan adeptly handles their interwoven lives with the rest of the characters in Mill River, many of whom readers will know from The Mill River Recluse.
The story opens with the young widow—Josie DiSanti and her daughters Rose and Emily—who flee their New York City home to find refuge with an aunt Josie barely knows. Aunt Ivy Collard, who owns the town's local bookstore, is the only one Josie can trust and willingly takes in Josie and the girls. Ivy helps the struggling family pick up the pieces and find some normalcy again.
The stage is set for the contrasting lives of the bickering sisters who end up not speaking for years. It's their separate and unique stories that dare the other sister to cross the line drawn in the sand of their relationship years earlier. Josie’s still-estranged adult daughters are forced to return to Mill River for the reading of their mother’s will. To make matters worse for Rose and Emily, Josie's will states that they must move back to Mill River, live next door to one another, and work together to locate a hidden key to a safe deposit box. Only there they will find their inheritance.
Out of obligation and the need for financial security, the girls are left with no choice other than to go along with their mother’s final wishes. Rose and Emily return to Mill River that summer and soon learn that in the sleepy little town they ran from years ago, a town known for magic and miracles, surprises and tests pave the way to much more than just their inheritance.
Chan has the innate ability to weave fascinating characters of Mill River with the twists and turns of Rose and Emily's quest for their inheritance—all while balancing the backstory of Josie's sudden widowed life. Delving into the complicated roles of siblings, parents, and neighbors, Chan gives each Mill River character a powerful role in refining and influencing these dynamics.
Ultimately, Chan shows that family, marriages, and friendships involve devotion, work, and the willingness to heal the past in order to save them.