Widow Mary McAllister lives in a marble ‘palace’ overlooking the town of Mill River. So close but so very far away. She suffers from social anxiety and agoraphobia which has debilitated her to the point she’s unable to leave her home without panicking. Fortunately her friend and local priest, Father O’Brien, visits often to make sure she’s ok and has everything she needs. Since her husband’s untimely death the father has been her constant companion and it’s a friendship that has survived over the decades.
THE MILL RIVER RECLUSE is an intriguing read that allows readers to get great insight into Mary’s life and what lead to her becoming so reclusive. My heart broke for her but at the same time I was so impressed that her spirit and good hearted nature never seemed to waver. This storyline jumps from past to present throughout much of the book and by doing that Ms. Chan really drew me into the storyline because with each little tidbit revealed I found that I wanted to know more about Mary and how she fits in the Mill River community.
Aside from Mary’s story there’re many sub-stories entwined throughout the book, including a romance between Kyle and Claudia, an obsessive arsonist, a priest with a penchant for spoons, and of course the town oddity, Daisy. Each citizen of the town is interesting in their own right but when you combine all of them together it’s a storyline that draws the reader in and holds you captive until the last page – and then disappointed because you feel like you have to say ‘goodbye’. Fortunately that’s not the case because there is another Mill Hill book, THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION available.