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The Crooked Branch cover art

The Crooked Branch

Written by: Jeanine Cummins
Narrated by: Aoife McMahon,Patricia Rodriguez
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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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting story

Very interesting story with the characters very well described.
However, the voice that reads the part of the story happening in New York (now) is very annoying with the sometimes unnecessary whining (as many other reviewers have pointed out) that that part of the story lost part of its message. Still, I would recommend this book as well as all the currently published books from this author (specially The Outside Boy and American Dirt).

2 people found this helpful

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Just One Criticism...

I loved this book. What an incredible writer. My only criticism is the irritating, whiney voice of Magella.

2 people found this helpful

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Modern day protagonist whines and whines!!

I would love to listen to the whole novel - particularly for the historical Irish element - but 4 chapters in and I know I can not listen to the whining which goes on and on by the modern day protagonist. I honestly don’t hold our much hope “she” will change after listening for two hours. Simply not for me 😕

Audible will not refund my credit as I have returned a few other titles. Audible, I do not want my money back I simply would like to have my credit back for a book I can enjoy!

This is my first review. I hope someone finds it helpful ☺️

1 person found this helpful

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For every mother

Great book, two awesome stories about being a mother, the good and the bad parts, very relatable.

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Captivating to the very end

I couldn’t it this book down. The narrator was excellent. The story was so compelling and Cummins captured so well the challenges of nee mothers especially those who have children a little later. I could not get enough of Ginny Doyle and her brood. Makes me want to learn more about the Irish famine. I thought American Dirt was good -,The Crooked Branch was even better. I can’t wait to read Cummins next book.

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  • Joanne McCoy
  • 2020-06-20

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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  • Suzy Gebhardt Clarke
  • 2020-06-18

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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  • PiercePress
  • 2021-10-06

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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2023-01-27

Agree

I totally agree with a previous review. The lead character is so uncomfortable I didn't have sympathy for her. She was so easily influenced and suggest able to the point of prejudice. She is narcissistic towards her mother. I believe my biased feelings toward this character maybe age and different background. From a down south mature women with daughters, the author should have stuck with the historical perspective character.

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  • Soni Ortiz
  • 2022-12-02

Such a good story

I love the parallels of 2 mothers in completely different eras. Def a must read

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  • Stephanie Normand
  • 2022-10-18

Beautiful Story of Motherhood

This was a beautiful story of the highs and lows of motherhood, but beware that it has some raw descriptions of postpartum anxiety and depression. It touched a nerve, but overall is a beautifully told story of the strength and triumph of motherhood.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-10-01

Wish it was better, loved another one of her books

The story had a pretty good plot, but it had so much unless, wordy, filler sentences, paragraphs. It could have been written in 3 chapters and been just as entertaining. I would’ve like to hear more relevant or relatable events rather than so many words that say not that much. The actor reading the book was awesome though. She made me think of my dads Irish family.

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  • Heather L.
  • 2022-08-01

Listen to the sample to see if you can stand the reader!

This is my first review. I felt I had to write it because this is also the first audible book I absolutely could not finish. I made it until there were four hours left and I couldn’t take it anymore. The reader for The young American woman is terrible. Her voice is so whiny that it is like nails on a chalkboard. It’s unfortunate because the reader for the Irish woman is fantastic. I thought I could just get through it but her voice and cadence literally makes me want to throw my phone across the room.

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  • r
  • 2022-07-29

stick with it

I thought it wasn't particularly relatable in the beginning but once Gelly starts to connect some dots it becomes a great story.

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  • L
  • 2022-06-03

Aoife McMahon’s reading is amazing

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