Born Under a Bad Sign, my novel of the turmoil of the 1960s, is garnering positive reviews from the people who witnessed one of the book’s central conflicts—the damming of the Delaware River.
From Stephen Drachler, the pool reporter covering the eviction of the squatters from the Tocks Island project, comes this account of the work:
Jeff Widmer’s Born Under a Bad Sign is his best novel. It is a rich telling that combines the real-life history of a river valley between Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the struggles of a community caught in the vice of a government eager to buy their properties for a controversial dam and other forces eager to take advantage to fill their bank accounts.
Love. Death. Intrigue. Squatters. Fear of a potential repeat of the massacre at Wounded Knee. And a story of a young woman rapidly learning about love and life in the turbulent ‘60s. It’s a gripping and poignant tale that takes full advantage of the author’s home-grown knowledge of the region. I should know, since I was there, too, as a young journalist reporting on the events of the period.
From Mina Hamilton, who with Nancy Shukaitis led the charge to save the river, and their land:
This is a fast-paced, compelling novel with an unusual twist. It’s set in a pristine valley threatened by environmental disaster—flooding by a proposed dam. The author deftly draws us into a young woman’s soul-searching regarding allegiance to her family’s home and community or to the lure of a quirky musician. As she ponders, we meet a host of unusual characters. And the plot zips along as we experience families torn-asunder, squatters evicted. Even murder lurks.
Some of this novel’s feisty characters and colorful events are loosely inspired by the legendary, decades-long battle against the Tocks Island Dam—here dubbed the Fox Island Dam. This book is strongly recommended both for folk who still remember the battle against Tocks (a battle that was ultimately successful), as well as for anybody up for an intriguing summer-reading adventure.
Whether you want to curl up by the fire or head out to camp under the stars, take Born Under a Bad Sign with you. Guaranteed: A fun (and at times distinctly scary) romp and a nostalgic peek back at the ‘60s. I just hope Jeff Widmer is up for writing a sequel.
And from a reader who just liked the book:
I’ve enjoyed each of Jeff’s books, but I consider this his best yet. I was completely drawn in to the characters and to the real history of the story, and not only was I unable to put it down, I ended up shifting my old nail-biting habit back into high gear! I very highly recommend this book!
Born Under a Bad Sign is available through bookstores and online at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. You’ll find the companion, Finding Woodstock, a collection of essays and photos about the era, at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and other retailers.