Review: Spring Bear by Betsy Connor Bowen

I received this novella from the First Reads program at Goodreads. Spring Bear is the story of a girl called Evvie Mallow who lives in the small town of Soper’s Mills, Maine. Evvie’s father suffered bad head injuries in an accident which left him unable to speak or take care of himself, and her mother has become involved with another man – Lester Darrow, a surly, aggressive man who traps bears in the woods.

Evvie dreams of going to California and escaping from the poverty and misery of her home, but when she discovers that she’s pregnant it seems that her chance of a better life has disappeared.

This self-published book is Betsy Connor Bowen’s debut novel. She has achieved what she set out to do, which is to successfully convey the atmosphere of a small town in Maine. I’ve never been to Maine, and the way of life described in the book was very different from my own – in some ways, a simpler way of life but not without its own set of problems and challenges.

Although I could sympathise with Evvie’s sad, lonely existence, I didn’t really feel any connection to any of the other characters – I would have liked to have been able to get to know them in more depth. Maybe if it had been a longer novel, there would have been more opportunity for character development, but for a quick, short read this book was quite enjoyable.

Genre: General Fiction/Pages: 96/Publisher: Lonefeather Productions/Year: 2009/Source: Won from Goodreads

New Book Arrivals – 23rd January 2010

Here are two books that I received today. The first book is one that I won from Goodreads: Spring Bear, a novella by Betsy Connor Bowen.


In Evvie Mallow, author Betsy Connor Bowen has created a contemporary classic. Born and raised in the Maine woods, her family disintegrating around her, Evvie is caught in a conflict between irreconcilable forces – the instinct to protect her unborn child and the freedom to choose a life for herself. With dignity and grace, she keeps a Yankee’s silence about her own acts of courage and self-sacrifice. This slender book will take its place among the timeless tales that enrich our imaginations.

I also bought The Sunne in Splendour from Amazon. I’ve never read any of Sharon Kay Penman’s books before but I thought I would try this one as I’ve seen so many good reviews.


A glorious novel of the controversial Richard III – a monarch betrayed in life by his allies and betrayed in death by history

In this beautifully rendered modern classic, Sharon Kay Penman redeems Richard III – vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews, the princes in the Tower – from his maligned place in history with a dazzling combination of research and storytelling.

This magnificent retelling of his life is filled with all of the sights and sounds of battle, the customs and lore of the fifteenth century, the rigors of court politics, and the passions and prejudices of royalty.