Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson

Published: August 3, 2021


Pages: 463

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Ash Davidson was born in Arcata, California, and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has been supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and MacDowell.

Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now that way of life is threatened.

Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It’s a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall—a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son—and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient redwoods. But when Colleen, grieving the loss of a recent pregnancy and desperate to have a second child, challenges the logging company’s use of the herbicides she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community, Colleen and Rich find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict. As tensions in the town rise, they threaten the very thing the Gundersens are trying to protect: their family.

“Two thousand years to grow a forest, a hundred years to fall it. No plague-like man.”

Rich is a logger, and it’s in his blood. Like his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather. Earning a living in the woods is what he knows. After losing a baby at five or so months, Colleen feels angry. She wants to try again, but Rich can’t. Then a blast from the past arrives and brings news that could change everything.

This was a beautifully written novel. Deep, emotional, raw, vulnerable, and devastatingly realistic.

I enjoyed the story and found the plot similar to the Erin Brockovich story, only this time is solely focused on the people, without the lawyers.

The conflict in this novel is so well presented, and the balance tips precariously. The character development blossoms as the storyline progresses.

The alternating narrators was a lovely touch, adding to the balancing act of the plot. I enjoyed the emotional aspect Colleen brought to the story, mixed with the stoic realism Rich brought.

The ending will literally take your breath away and leave you with tears in your eyes. This is a beautiful story, told over several years, of hope, forgiveness, truth, lies, and family.

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