Kay Chronister


The Bog Wife

A Novel

In this Appalachian gothic for readers of Shirley Jackson, Karen Russell, and Mona Awad, a family living in their crumbling ancestral manor in West Virginia must unearth long-buried secrets to carve out a future when the ritual exchange with the cranberry bog that has long ensured their survival is suddenly ruptured

Since time immemorial, the Haddesley family has tended the cranberry bog. In exchange, the bog sustains them. The seasons of their lives are governed by a strict covenant that is renewed each generation. But when the bog fails—or refuses—to honor its portion of the bargain, a group of discordant siblings still grieving the mother who mysteriously disappeared years earlier, face an unknown future.

Middle child Wenna, summoned back to the dilapidated family home just as her marriage is collapsing, believes the Haddesleys must abandon their traditions. Eldest daughter Eda, de facto head of the household, seeks to salvage the compact by desecrating it. Younger son Percy retreats into the wilderness to perform a dangerous arcane ritual. And as youngest daughter Nora takes desperate measures to keep her warring siblings together, fledgling patriarch Charlie uncovers a disturbing secret that casts doubt over everything the family has ever believed about itself.

Told from multiple points of view, and brimming with aching loss and the universal struggle between honoring ones heritage and the drive to strike out on one’s own, The Bog Wife examines the legacy of lies and discord within an isolated family, and what happens when the land you’re caring for stops caring for you.