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Publisher's Summary

From Jeanine Cummins, the national best-selling author of American Dirt and A Rip in Heaven, comes The Crooked Branch - the deeply moving story of two mothers from two very different times.

After the birth of her daughter, Emma, the usually resilient Majella finds herself feeling isolated and exhausted. Then, at her childhood home in Queens, Majella discovers the diary of her maternal ancestor Ginny - and is shocked to read a story of murder in her family history.

With the famine upon her, Ginny Doyle fled from Ireland to America, but not all of her family made it. What happened during those harrowing years, and why does Ginny call herself a killer? Is Majella genetically fated to be a bad mother, despite the fierce tenderness she feels for her baby?

Determined to uncover the truth of her heritage and her own identity, Majella sets out to explore Ginny's past - and discovers surprising truths about her family and ultimately, herself.

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

©2013 Jeanine Cummins (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Crooked Branch

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Jekyll & Hyde of a Book

The Ireland portion narrated by Aoife McMahon is well-rendered and enjoyable. Set in 1847 during the Great Hunger, the story’s characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, the plot moves along, and the narrator’s voice is musical and well suited to the narrative. The other story line is set in modern-day Queens, and centers around a young mother with post-partum depression who is impossible for the listener— even empathetic people—to care about or sympathize with...she’s whiny, self-centered, and 99% intolerable. Patricia Rodriguez’s reading is difficult to listen to— I white-knuckled it through those sections, because I was motivated to know what happened at the end, and how the contrapuntal storylines eventually coalesced. I loved this author’s American Dirt and its narrator, but this was a mediocre book with one Set of characters and a narrator who made it bearable and another cast of characters and narrator one who really weighed it down. There are better books and better listens out there.

4 people found this helpful

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Fraught Women

I very much enjoy Cummin’s descriptions and humor. I found her many fraught women depressing. Thank goodness there’s a happy ending.

3 people found this helpful

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powerful historical elements

Good story, maybe a little over the top on the mother-daughter relationship thread. Powerful description of the history of the Irish famine. narration was a little cheesy, one actor doing all those voices.

1 person found this helpful

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  • 06-03-22

Aoife McMahon’s reading is amazing

Aoife McMahon’s voice and talents made the stories of the Great Famine come to live.

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Who knows about the story

I was eating up all Jeanine Cummins books at a rapid pace but unfortunately this is not listenable. The narrator is so grating I had to bail. So sorry not to have heard the story.

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Half great!

narration was great. Half of the story was very intriguing and entertaining (the Ireland half) the NY now half was way over descriptive, over dramatic boring and way too melodramatic.

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Wonderful Characters and performance

The story and two readers were amazing, captivating. Just so compelling and relatable. Made me need some Fritos!

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Great Read!

not sure why some did not like the story. it's one of my favorite! very heartwarming and moving. definitely recommend.

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1/2 & 1/2

The famine based story, told in a lovely brogue, was spellbinding but nearly ruined by the poorly inflected and grating postpartum whine it was paired with. Sorry to say..

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Love the book and the author

Well told with just the right amount of detail for picturing the people places and events. Good story.