If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

by Leah Weiss


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"[A] striking debut..." — BUSTLE

"...masterful use of language....Weiss' novel is a great suggestion for fans of the Big Stone Gap books, by Adriana Trigiani, and Mitford series, by Jan Karon."—Booklist, STARRED Review

He's gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That's long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline...if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON'T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492647454
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 65,301
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Leah Weiss is a Southernwriter born in North Carolina and raised in the foothills of Virginia. Her debut novel IF THE CREEK DON'T RISE will be released in August of 2017. Her short stories havebeen published in The Simple Life magazine, Every Day Fiction and Deep South Magazine. She retired in 2015 from a 24-year career as Executive Assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School. She now pursues writing full time and enjoys speaking to book clubs. You can contact her on her website leahweiss.com

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If the Creek Don't Rise 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book! It kept me captivated the whole time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!!! Lots of characters yet all described with such detail, heart and soul! I dont think ive ever read another book with such colorful and loud characters. Sad when it ended. Looking forward to more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written story that takes us to a place most of us dont know exists and a time we as 21st century women take for granted. I found myself caring about the characters and their hardscrabble lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way too many characters. Left you wondering who the main character was. Good plot idea but not enough depth.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
There are only a few authors I've come across that write fiction about Appalachia with authority and with a strong sense of understanding, compassion and respect. Catherine Marshall and Sharyn McCrumb come to mind and I've now added Leah Weiss to my shortlist. This may be a debut but Ms. Weiss has created a story that, to me, represents the way I personally feel about the Appalachian people and their way of life. Those of us who live in more traditional, perhaps more "sophisticated" environs get a good taste of Sadie's insular, self-contained world and, while we think her pregnancy and marriage at such a young age are appalling enough, it's much harder to comprehend the way of life that would lead her Granny to treat Sadie so harshly. As Sadie says, "Granny don't do my heart any good" but Granny is what Appalachian mores and society are all about. It all makes thoughts of murder a little more forgiveable. My heart was immediately taken by Sadie and I was energized by her hopes of escaping this crushing poverty and illiteracy but, truly, nearly all these people, Granny and the abusive Roy included, tugged at me for one reason or another. Some of my reaction is because of my own familiarity with the Appalachian world from regular family trips to the Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee areas when I was growing up and my fondness for fiction set there as well as nonfiction. Ms. Weiss is responsible for drawing me in this time and I truly hope to see more of Sadie and the people of Baines Creek. In the meantime, If the Creek Don't Rise has a place on my list of best books read in 2017.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
In the hills of Applachia, there are towns that seem like they haven't aged and life is still primitive and this book explores one of those towns as a new teacher has come to town to teach the children and will maybe stir up things. With only a few chapters and each chapter narrated by a different character and only a few chapters had repeats, it was an full view because you saw life through the pastor, a woman who was abused by her husband, her grandmother and her aunt and so on. I lived in North Carolina in two parts for quite a few years and North Carolina has a special place in my heart because it is where I was first an adult and I am not naive to say that there are towns like this both in North Carolina and in many if not all other states in the United States, but this book just didn't work for me. It felt like a caricature of this lifestyle and just disingenuous. I was cringing a few times not because I didn't think it was true, it just didn't feel right. I feel like I am talking circles, but its hard to describe what I really didn't love about it, but I felt it through the whole book. I would read another book by this author, only if it wasn't set in this area because it wasn't her writing her per say it was more her portrayal.
MJK108 More than 1 year ago
“I need an ally to instill hope and possibility in my good people. We all deserve hope and possibility.” -Excerpt from letter written by Eli Perkins Sadie Blue, pregnant, seventeen, and illiterate, finds herself with a worthless husband in the form of Roy Tupkin, a drunk, belligerent bully, living in the town of Baines Creek, North Carolina deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The year is 1970; and deep in those mountains, the world has not caught with this small rural town, a town and people that really need hope. The novel is narrated in first person, present tense by a multitude of characters that affect Sadie’s life in one way or another. The characters have depth and personality. They are not always likable and they are not always nice people. They do, however, make one think about the difficulties of life in the Appalachians. Some of the more likable characters in the novel are Eli Perkins, the local minister and advocate for education; Kate Shaw, the latest educator to come to rural Baines Creek; and Birdie Rocas, a very unusual local resident who adds her own unique voice to the story. Multiple storylines run through the book. In one, Sadie’s marriage, pregnancy, and all the complications that come with being married to Roy Tupkin are covered. In another storyline, Eli Perkins, his sister, Prudence, and Kate Shaw are intertwined in Sadie’s life with dramas of their own. The story is intricate and contains a few surprises along with a twisty ending. I enjoyed the haunting narrative. The characters are gritty and real. Not a light read, but a deep story that will make the reader pause! This ARC copy was received from Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
The blurb was correct on this very entertaining book. I did get way down deep with my feelings for the characters and the setting of this book. I really feel as though the author did a great job with the characters and making me feel as though I was really there in those hollers and mountains. The dialect used for the characters just really brought it all together. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Sad that the women had to "take things into their own hands" to get rid of their problems. Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss is a highly recommended debut novel set during the 1970's in the Appalachian community of Baines Creek, N.C. The cast of characters tell the story from their point of view through their own chapters. Weiss have given each character their own unique voice in their chapters. Some characters are heard from once or a few times while others have multiple chapters to propel the story forward through their personal narrative. This approach creates a powerful ensemble piece with strong character development and develops a compelling sense of place in the setting. Sadie Blue has been Roy Tupkin's wife for fifteen days and she knows that she has made a terrible mistake. He is a bully and his beatings are endangering their unborn child, as well as her own life. What she needs to do is listen to her Daddy's voice and find a smart way out. Her dour grandmother, Gladys Hicks, knows what Sadie is going through because she had to deal with her own abusive husband. Sadie's Aunt Marris Jones, a caring, optimistic neighbor to her grandmother, sees what is going on and wants to help Sadie. Then Preacher Eli Perkins welcomes the new teacher to town, Kate Shaw. At 51 years old and over 6 feet tall, Kate is not at all what the community expects, but she is made of tougher stuff than they realize. She is also determined to make sure her students are fed during the time they are in school. Eli is attracted to her intellect, even though she is an agnostic, while his sister Prudence sets out to set others against Kate. Sadie likes Kate and Kate has promised to teach her to read. Birdie Rocas, a neighbor of Kate's and a local healer/diviner, watches Kate, protects her, and then befriends her. Everyone is concerned for Sadie's well-being. If the Creek Don't Rise is a collection of many points of view where the characters are in each other's stories. While the synopsis makes it sound like it is solely Sadie's story, it really is a character driven novel. Telling the story through the viewpoints of different characters works extremely well in this novel with a southern Gothic feel to it. Even Roy gets a chapter. I will note that ultimately, Sadie gets the last word, so the arch of her story is told. The writing is excellent and the characterizations are exceptionally well done. The sense of place is firmly established. I liked the ending too. This is certainly a novel worth reading, but for me, a well developed plot was a wee-bit lacking in If the Creek Don't Rise. Oh, there are anecdotes told and stories shared while confronting the immediate question of helping Sadie, but there were so many other stories and questions that were never resolved. For example, why give us the chapter from Prudence, and then not another word from that harpy? Or just drop the thread of Reverend Eli's attraction to Kate? In the end I liked If the Creek Don't Rise quite a bit, but not enough to give it my highest rating. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Sourcebooks
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Lean Weiss, and Sourcebooks - Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. This novel is set in Appalachia in the 1970's and is written in first person of several of the protagonists. This is an interesting presentation, and not as confusing as it would at first seem. I found myself more heavily invested in some of the characters. The bad guys are mostly all bad. Roy Tupkin is a snake and at first seems the most dangerous to Sadie, but Billy is mentally challenged as well as pretty crazy. I really enjoyed Birdie and of course Sadie Blue held my sympathy throughout the novel. I love that she confides in both her dead daddy and Loretta Lynn, or occasionally Patsy Cline or George Jones. Of course that sounds crazy, but she is for the most part simply very young and naive. I enjoyed watching her mature. Leah Weiss is an author I will follow.
SSMiller More than 1 year ago
This was not my usual type of book to read. That may play into my enjoyment of this story; the fact that it was so totally different from my normal taste. The setting of the story is very dismal at best, the Appalachian mountains and the poverty of the area. It is exciting, hopeful and heartbreaking all wrapped into one. You cannot help but cheer for one of the main characters, Sadie Blue, and her hope of a better life all the way to Roy Tupkin, her not so great knight in shining armor. I would recommend this book highly; I was totally involved in the characters and did not want to put the book down.
Holly More than 1 year ago
If The Creek Don't Rise is the story of a woman trying to find her way in the hills of Appalachia in a small town called Baines Creek. Sadie Blue has only been married for 15 days to Roy Tupkin but realizes that was a mistake, even with a baby on the way. It takes a stranger to move into the area for things to be shaken up for Sadie to find her voice and be the person that she was meant to be. As we explore different people's views as things happen to Sadie, we are reminded what secrets are better left in the dark in the most perfect way to end this story! This book had me captivated from the first page to the very last word, it truly was a good book to read. I would have liked it better if it didn't swing so fast to one character to the next, sometimes without much warning but overall, you still understand what is happening within the story to not get lost in it. The thing that got me was the simple fact that things like this really do happen in Appalachia more than we like to know or care to enough to want to help out someone like Sadie who just wants a fighting chance to be something more than what is expected of her to do. Thank You to Leah Weiss for writing a pretty good first story that I hope to see more of in the future!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley!
chillandreadblog More than 1 year ago
“If the creek don’t rise” is the debut novel of author Leah Weiss and it is a punch in the stomach! The reader sinks in the narration and can hardly swim to the surface to catch a breath! Sadie Blue lives in Baines Creek, a small town in the Appalachia. The year is 1970 and Sadie is only sixteen years old, but she has already been under Roy Tupkin’s spell and she carries his child. She is now his wife without a ring but with all needed paperwork. Sadie has met Roy’s bad side several times and she only tries to keep herself and her unborn baby safe from him. It ain’t easy and it ain’t nice. Roy beats her up for no reason once in awhile, just to remind her who is in charge around there. Sadie will find the courage to stand for herself after the arrival of a newcomer, an outsider, that will give her hope and will make her believe in herself. Life in the Appalachia is more than difficult. It is a constant struggle. Struggle to bring bread on the table. Struggle to live under leaking roofs. Struggle to walk in shoes full of holes. Struggle to wear worn out clothes. Struggle to live under the same roof with drunks and beaters. Struggle to work and die in the mines for a little more money. Struggle to get some education and what you deserve as a person. The mountains are full of poverty, ignorance, dirt, filt, impurity, Indian beliefs and folklore. People say that’s how it is on the mountains. Those highlanders are savages and the valley people are civilized. There is only that, what people see and the only way they believe they could help, would be to find a way to drag poverty out of those people. This would be their salvation. Blood on the shoes and mussy clothes is not something new, so nobody asks questions. Not every person is pure, so nobody asks questions. Whatever happens within a household is that man’s business, so nobody asks questions. But all these people need is hope, somebody to believe in them and be able to instill hope in them. They need education, they need somebody to love them, so they can love themselves. They need someone to point the light to them and to the joys of life. The need to find the reason to live a happy life, cause in the mud that surrounds them, they see only dark.
redjewel7734 More than 1 year ago
This story sucked me in from the first words, and I couldn't look away. I love the view that the many narrators give into the complexity of a place often simplified into nothing more than sterotypes. Having grown up in Appalachia, with areas that from the stories of family not that different from Baines Creek, the voices in this story rang true. I can't wait to read more from Leah Weiss.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
If the Creek Don't Rise,  Leah Weiss I really thought I'd enjoy this, it sounded so intriguing. sadly I just found it too grim for me, too dirt poor desperate and couldn't like or engage with any of the characters, though I felt incredibly sad for them trapped by circumstances into a life like that. I'm sure for many people it's real. Its very well written, a great debut for those that like this type of story. I look for more upbeat books though, ones I can enjoy reading, an escape into another's life, and I don't mind that being dark, or sad so long as there's hope that it gets better. With this though it just felt like unremitting sadness, no hope of anything positive coming out. I just couldn't continue reading, I could feel myself being dragged down into the story without any light at the end. Real life is enough like that for me right now, I don't want to get sucked into that in my leisure time. It's one of those cases where its me not the book, I just found it too depressing, it just wasn't one for me, and I couldn't finish it. Stars: two, DNF, too grim for me but well written and perfect for others. ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Rachel Poynter More than 1 year ago
It is clear from the very beginning of Weiss' story that there isn't always a happy ending. Sadie Blue finds herself in a situation she did not anticipate although others see her fate coming from a mile away. Her reality is beautifully described in raw and plain detail but the pull of her story is too great to ignore. Although she isn't the only character the reader hears from, she is the main point of view, even the other perspectives always have her in their thoughts. Each character in this story plays a specific part of the social plan. There are heroes, villians, martyrs and misfits but they all work together in a literary plan that unravels before our eyes. Throughout the story there is a sense of want, want for the characters to rise above their situation but also a realization that things are easier said than done. As Sadie Blue moves through these few months she encounters true enemies and true friends, but others are wrapped in mystery. All the characters make up a whole that lends itself to a story of self discovery, to find her true self Sadie must write her own ending. Using a culture that isn't main steam is a risky choice, but here, Weiss masterfully integrates a real sense of life. Her characters are solid and their actions are clear and concise, offering the reader no excuses. The span of this novel is short, only a few months, but it seems as if the reader has known them all of their life. The shift in perspective can be tricky, but Weiss places each character into the story for a purpose. There are no frills.. The writing is direct and to the point. There is no need to add anything because every backstory has a reason. This is a breath of fresh air as a reader because so many times stories can drag on but this ones does not do that. There are questions that will still remain after I've finished the last words and I will reread them again, but that's the qualities I look for in a good story.
Chris721 More than 1 year ago
Sadie Blue is 17 and pregnant by a man who thought loved her. She marries Ray and he starts physically abusing her immediately. The only support she has is her grandmother Gladys. Sadie needs to find the strength to leave Ray and realize she and her baby deserve so much more. This is a story told from many points of view, Sadie, Gladys, and various neighbors in the small town. It was a sad story but one filled with hope Thank you so to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me an ARC for an honest review.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Nestled inside the Appalachia Mountain are a group of individuals whose life might seem a bit backwards, a bit behind the times but it is a life that they have chosen and a life which they can call their own. Preacher Eli is optimist about the people that surround his small church as he puts out a call for a teacher for the children in his community. She arrives but her past is blemished. This stain that occurred on her resume, she addresses immediately and moves forward. She seems brave and bold as she speaks about her past but she needs to be, as this position is not for everyone. As this outsider makes her way into the community, she begins to get a feel for the history and the individuals who will now be her community. To hear their stories, you understand their notions and the way their lives have taken. I really enjoyed this novel, I enjoyed the drama as it sliced through the lives of these individuals, not shattering them but causing a disturbance that echoed throughout the community. They were a tight-knit group, they knew what was acceptable and what wasn’t and they each felt connected to each other in some way. It’s funny how they sized-up each other, they each harbored their own feelings about what went on in the community but to act on them, was a different story. As the teacher makes her appearance, you can feel a ripple amongst the group as she has now become a spectacle. These ripples occur throughout the novel, some creating more emotions than others and there were times I wanted someone to act, to stand up immediately and make a difference but it’s not like that in this community. I had to let things work themselves out. I would love to read one of Birdie’s Books of Truth, for I am sure that her use of words and her stories would captive me. I will miss the lives of Sadie, Pastor Eli, Prudence, Birdie and the others, for this novel allowed me to escape and find my way up into the mountains. I received this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing this terrific novel with me.
mweinreich More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books that when you finished it you let out a big "ah" and with a smile on your face as you think good for you Sadie Blue. In this debut novel we are taken to a small town in Appalachia West Virginia where we meet its inhabitants, the good and the really bad elements that make these character come alive in the reader's imagination. Ms Weiss lets us into the thoughts and the desires of people who live in abject poverty. Sadie Blue, seventeen years old and pregnant, is married to a brutal wife beater Roy Tupkin. Roy is the quintessential bad man who rivals the devil in his words and actions. Into Sadie's life comes a middle aged school teacher who lifts Sadie up and provides a very lifeline to her. The grittiness and humanness of the characters living within Baines Creek make for a wonderful exploration into the soul and character of people living in poverty. The novel is narrated by ten different characters giving one a look into their lives, their needs, and the way they interact in world where life is ever so hard. We see the goodness in people as they band together helping one another as well as the very evil some do. This was a powerful look which will break your heart into the life of Appalachia. It points out so well what is needed and found in the resilience of the human spirit. The only drawback to this novel was the fact that in many cases we are left without knowing the fate of most of the characters. I found myself wanting more which is perhaps the very feeling of those who lived and struggled in this part of our nation experience.