Crossing the River

Crossing the River: A Novel by Fenton JohnsonA Novel

The University Press of Kentucky

“As rich and Southern as fried chicken gravy . . . full of sharply observed talk and manners.”
   — Chicago Tribune

Carrying her Confederate heritage like a flag, Martha Bragg Pickett was as stubborn as her red hair.  And hungry for life.  On a date she crossed the river, leaving the safe, abstaining, Baptist, Southern side and venturing over to the dangerous, rowdy, Catholic Northern side.  And when that proved less than thrilling, she marched her young self right into the (men only) Miracle Inn, which got a rise out of the owner Bernie Miracle, who thought he’d seen everything.  But even Martha was shocked to find herself living on the wrong side of the river twenty years later, with a grown son, a tired marriage to Bernie, a handsome Yankee contractor newly arrived in town — and a well-remembered itch for a life that hadn’t been scratched since she made her first big, brave mistake.

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Praise from Readers and Reviewers

“Delightful to behold . . . one of the pleasures of this story is the way almost nothing goes where it seems to be headed . . . most of all there is Martha, full-blown and irresistible, earthy and wise, meeting life more than halfway.”
   — San Francisco Chronicle

“A gallant and engaging heroine who, from the ashes of total defeat, rises again to win our hearts.”
   — San Francisco Examiner

“Maturity of vision plus writing excellence is rare in a first-time novelist.  Crossing the River is an unusually promising debut.”
   — Philadelphia Enquirer