I read "Dancing at the Rascal Fair" as a stand alone book, not realizing it was part of a trilogy. "Dancing" is a 5 star read and a gem of a book. It ..Show More »is also the true beginning of the trilogy. After reading "Dancing," I wanted more about the family and what happened to them. I read "Prairie Nocturne" which followed a side character and didn't satisfy the itch. This is what I should have read. Although, I have no clue why Doig chose to make it the first book of the trilogy, it is actually the second book chronologically and makes a lot more sense to read second. Having read "Dancing," I picked up on subtleties and relationships that I wouldn't have caught at all if I had read this first. "English Creek" starts slowly and the plot lazes along, just a 3.5 star read for me, but it was the salve for my itch of wanting more after "Dancing." Glad I found it.
The books starts off slow. However you will be richly rewarded with a powerful and passionate story if you stay with it. This book entices the reader..Show More » with paragraph after paragraph of poetic prose. Then, the author grabs your attention with a spellbinding story that has all of the elements that make you want to begin reading and never stop. His beloved Montana comes to life such that you can hear the constant wind, feel the biting cold, taste the dust of the dry years, smell the sheep pens at shearing time, and see the vast expanses of prarie fading into the impossibly rugged mountains. This book grabbed me and wouldn't let go.
Ivan Doig has become one of my favorite authors. I've listened to four of his novels, including this trilogy. He is a wordsmith, able to turn a phra..Show More »se that makes you want to pause the story and savor the phrase. He is also a first-rate story-teller who spins a great yarn while developing full-bodied characters set in an accurate historical context.
This story made me laugh out loud often. But it was also a thoughtful reflection on relationships--family, neighbors, coworkers--and and how our individual stories are part of a much larger web. It was also a hymn of love to Montana. As a Northwesterner who loves Montana (I hike and motorcycle there), it was a kick to hear Jick's descriptions of places I've been and loved.
In the third part of this outstanding trilogy, Doig masterfully answers dangling questions from the previous books, and throws plenty of curves to keep you guessing. I was sad when the book ended; my consolation was that I can listen to all three again!
Scott Sowers narration is superb as well. Spot on!
Do yourself a favor--listen to the whole series! It's an amazing 100-year saga of the McCaskill family in the Two Country of Montana!