Christian Book Previews Home
Christian Book Previews
Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
384 pages
Nov 2005
Tyndale House Publishers

Troublesome Creek

by Jan Watson

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


This first-time novelist captures the reader’s heart as pages quickly turn to reveal plot twists and a story of real-life family love. This is how Jan Watson, author of Troublesome Creek, debuts her work as a novelist. Main character Copper, a sixteen-year-old girl from the hills of Kentucky, struggles through her teenage years with her loving, but somewhat sewn askew parents. After an introduction to the existing Brown family, Watson takes the reader into the family’s turbulent past, bringing more complexity to the story. Troublesome Creek, the nearby waterfront that Will Brown has loved for so many years proves to be loving and unforgiving all at once. A mountain cat herself, young Copper’s outdoor-loving instincts come to battle against her mother’s desire for her to become a “proper lady.” Threats of boarding school and city life lead Copper to make hasty, unwise decisions that guide her into paths she would never have chosen otherwise. A story of true, tested love and the blossoming of youth into adulthood makes this a gentle but poignant story.

Watson gracefully leads the reader into the plot by the powerful use of flashback. Troublesome Creek is revealed to the reader one piece at a time, but leaves no questions about what is to come. Relationships between characters are unforgettable and feel hauntingly realistic. Although Watson’s plot twists are unusual in everyday life, a reader cannot help but empathize when the characters find themselves in painful or awkward situations.

Copper is a young and fiery redhead who loves the mountains, her family, and her hound dog Paw-Paw. As the story progresses, Copper finds herself in love with John, a friend from her childhood. Stepmother Grace and father Will serve her with guidance and stability as she makes decisions as an inexperienced adolescent. Rifts between mother and daughter emerge, as can only be expected in a story of a growing family. But, ultimately, love pulls the family through the rough waters of life, as years around Troublesome Creek transpire.

After finishing Troublesome Creek, a reader comes away changed and in love with life. Although some plot holes and weakly-constructed dialogue mechanically hinder the story’s impact, Watson’s first novel hits home. The book is appropriate for both young audiences and matured readers because of its unobtrusive and family-friendly content. Written in an easy-to-read vernacular, first-time fiction readers and experienced crowds alike will appreciate the Watson’s work. Troublesome Creek is a leisurely book for a day in the sun or a break from the rush of life. -- Michelle Faulconer, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Winner of the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest.

Copper loves life on Troublesome Creek. But the waters that nearly stole her life so long ago now bring change she doesn’t want to face.

With a stepmother determined to transform her into a proper lady, a loving father still bound to his painful past, and a suitor bearing the promise of a whole new life, Copper faces the biggest crossroads of her life.

Her passions run as wild as the churning waters of Troublesome. But perhaps her heart will lead her into calm depths she’s never known before. . . .