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Publisher's Summary

After the birth of her daughter, Emma, the usually resilient Majella finds herself feeling isolated and exhausted. Then, at her childhood home, 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.

©2013 Jeanine Cummins (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Rich and intricately drawn...luminous prose." (Carolyn Parkhurst)

What listeners say about The Crooked Branch

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A mother's love for her family.


Loved listening to this book. Well written and read. Easy to listern too. Would recommend this book.

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Love this book, should come with trigger warning

This book was amazing, I found the beginning very difficult to listen to due the graphic description of Emma's birth. it really bought back memories of my own twins birth. Hearing about the coffin ships and the potato famine what harrowing life they lived. The grit and determination of Ginny to save her family was something to be admired.

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  • Andréa Veiga
  • 15-03-2021

Delightful

The story is so human and so tender. The human courage and fears are so vividly described that you can almost associate certains elements in your own life to the characters.
However, the voice of the American woman is so annoying and over-dramatised that I fought to keep on listening.
If you can look past the awful narrator then I’d say this is a fabulous story!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Roderick s.
  • 26-10-2020

Could have been 5 stars

I have given this book 3 stars, the book is in two parts historical and modern, the historical part I would give five stars, it is truly brilliant, unfortunately the modern part is far from brilliant, I found myself wanting to skip these chapters to get back to the other story.

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  • Sarah P
  • 19-06-2021

Enjoyable read

I have really loved Jeanine Cummins other books and I enjoyed this one too overall. However I agree with some of the other reviews in that I loved the Irish chapters but found the New York ones a bit tedious and I really didn’t like the character of Magella and found the narration of her voice hard to listen to!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. E. Edwards
  • 07-05-2021

loved it

I nearly didn't listen to this because there were some negative reviews about it, I've loved Jeanine Cummings other books and was worried I'd be disappointed but in the end I thought I'd give this a go. I'm so glad I did as I loved it and thought it all tied in well together. She's such a clever and diverse writer.

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  • Melissa O'Shea
  • 08-02-2021

Another cracker from Cummins

Cummins has captured the spirit of motherhood during the Irish genocide impeccably. This author is extremely talented. Having read American Dirt and finding it so authentic, I wasn't sure she could capture an entirely different culture in the same way. However I was impressed yet again and I particularly loved the Irish reader.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs L.
  • 21-07-2021

2 very different mothers

I love the difference between the two female lead characters lives. Gripped by both 🙂

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rick
  • 14-11-2020

A tale of two halves

After reading American Dirt and the equally compelling Outside Boy I looked forward to this novel. However whilst the Irish sections provided a great story brilliantly narrated by Aoife McMahon, the New York present day sections were really annoying and made me want to skip them.

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  • Marjorie Willcox
  • 27-11-2021

A read that will take you on such a journey!

Absolutely loved this split time line novel set in America & Ireland.
The story re the Irish potato famine in the mid 19C was harrowing & riveting. This concerned ancestors of the present day Magella who had just given birth & was finding it difficult to cope,
It was beautifully narrated. The author is a veritable wizard. Each of her novels so different. Her empathy for the struggling is palpable.
I am undone & put back together each time!

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  • D
  • 22-11-2021

Narrator present day sickly sweet

Would have preferred to hear more about Irish famine fell asleep during present day narration

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  • Claire
  • 14-10-2021

Very disappointing, especially the modern narrator

Having just recently finished listening to American Dirt, I couldn’t wait to listen to another Jeanine book. Unfortunately, I had to give up after a few hours, not being able to hear any more of the modern day narrator. She sounded almost like a whiny Winona Ryder and it put me off listening to any more of the book.

I wish I’d read other reviews before purchasing the book. Despite only listening to a couple of hours, I agree that the modern day character isn’t a patch up the historical one. Self indulgent and not willing to listen. And I say that as a mother who went through similar experiences!

I’m hoping to have better luck next time…

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-09-2021

Disappointed

Having read American Dirt and Outside Boy, I was really looking forward to this story. However I found the narrator's voice in the current time irritating and whiney, but was engrossed by the Irish story and looked forward to those chapters. A good storyline, but not keen on the New York narration.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.