Reviews

“Let the Willows Weep” was very emotional for me and together with the main character I fell a lot of feelings from anger to empathy and from love to hurt. It always very nice that a book can give you so much strong emotion, though it was a sad story. I’m sure – from now on – I ‘ll never look the same at a willow tree! “Let the Willows Weep” was excellent written and it fell almost like I was reading poetry. So, beautiful! The author, Sherry Parnell did a great job. . . I’m looking forward to read more of this author!” –Kathleen Van Lierop, My Crazy Life Full With Books, October 17, 2020

“Y’all I am thrilled to bring this book to you tonight – part historical fiction, part literary fiction and 100 awesome storytelling.⁣ In this debut novel, we meet Birddog, a young girl growing up in rural America. Her brother named her this because she is as small as a bird and as loyal as a dog.⁣ This emotional story will invite you into her story in southern low country where her dysfunctional family and childhood has her questioning if she deserves love and other good things.⁣ Fans of Where The Crawdads Sing will love this one!–Leslie, shobizreads, October 8, 2020

This is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a girl named Birddog, the daughter of miner parents. The book takes you on an emotional journey as her life isn’t easy and is full of disappointments. I found myself emotionally attached to Birddog and hoping she would find happiness.–Suzy, SuzysBookshelf, October 7, 2020

“In the tradition of the best Southern fiction—from Bastard Out of Carolina to Where the Crawdads Sing—Sherry Parnell’s Let the Willows Weep is a heart-wrenching portrait of hardscrabble, humble lives in rural America. . . I thought Birddog was a well-written character who lived in a sad home with an overly critical mother who didn’t love her.  She managed to stay strong no matter what life threw at her until the last terrible act that determined how she was going to handle the rest of her life. . . Overall this was a beautifully written Southern novel with a strong female main character.  Her life was full of confusion and sorrow but at the end, she was able to find redemption.” –Susan Roberts, Girl Who Reads, September 25, 2020

As someone who was born and raised in the South, I feel that I can truly appreciate when a book conjures the feelings that come from living in the South. Time moves slower, a family is a very precious thing, and stories passed down from generation to generation are what keep our history alive. So, when I had the chance to read this piece of southern fiction, I jumped at the opportunity. There’s just something about a book like this that makes my heart feel full. However, the fullness in my heart doesn’t mean that there weren’t moments throughout the book that caused my heart to crack slightly. With the beauty of the South, often comes the pain of the South. Parnell did a beautiful job writing about the joy and heart that “Birddog” endured in her lifetime. It made me sad for several reasons, but the main was how the writing style in this book made the story feel incredibly real. There are people out there who have suffered in the same ways that Birddog did. I truly loved this poetic story and relished in the fact that it transported me to that small rural town. If you’re looking for a southern novel that truly speaks to the heart and soul of this part of our country, then you will want to pick up LET THE WILLOWS WEEP. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to read and review this book.–Chase, The Bookend Diner and @thebookend.diner, September 24, 2020

“What is a book you read in high school and it stuck with you? Doesn’t matter if it was required reading or one you read on your own. ⁣I read Bastard Out of Carolina my senior year of high school and it has stuck with me ever since. So when I read comparisons of Let The Willows Weep to Bastard Out of Carolina and Where The Crawdads Sing, another of my all-time favorites, I knew this one was for me. . .⁣ Obviously I’m biased, living in the Rural Deep South, but there is a grit and fortitude in Southern fiction that I am continually drawn to. Writers like Wiley Cash and Delia Owens have really brought this genre to the forefront of American fiction and I am so here for it.” –Julianne, @booksandbackroads, September 23, 2020

““Sometimes we can’t cry enough for all the pain we feel. So, we let the willows weep.” An emotional coming-of-age story about how one seeks to keep going through hard times. Sad and yet hopeful—filled with prose so beautiful and delicate, it often felt like reading poetry. This book is a reminder of how much our families can shape our lives. Birddog’s father abandoned them after he couldn’t take their mother anymore. Meanwhile, her mother seems to focus her viciousness on Birddog, jealous of her relationship with her father. As Birddog grows older, things continue to be difficult in her life. Yet moments of love, however fleeting, feel like hope, giving us the strength to keep moving on. An emotional read, beautifully written, and reminding us of the importance of kindness.” –Mackenzie, PhDiva Blog and @thephdivabooks, September 21, 2020

This novel is lyrical, gut wrenching and powerful. I can’t fathom my parents hating me as deeply as Birddog’s mother does her. She’s a tomboy while her mother is all about appearance and the finer things in life. As soon as I started this novel I was transported back in time, when your station in life isn’t always easy to move on up from. . . Go grab a gorgeous copy off Amazon and to connect with the author, check out her website. This novel is a top favorite of mine this year. If you’ve also, read this novel I would love to discuss it.” Openly Bookish, September 19, 2020

This is a gorgeous and thought- provoking story about growing up in the South. Parnell focuses on Birddog Harlin, the daughter of miner parents and the youngest of three. We observe Birddog’s life as she struggles to overcome the tragic events of her childhood. At just under 260 pages it’s also a quick + short read.–Sarah, @brabsandbooks, September 18, 2020 

Let the willows weep is a beautifully told story of life growing up in the south and an emotional coming of age story for the main character, Birddog. Birddog is the youngest of three kids born to their miner dad and mother. Let the willows weep paints a picture of what it was like growing up in a working class family during this era and displays the types of prejudices that existed. Birddog endures a lot of hardships in her life, including loosing family members, abandonment and more. This story is depressing at times but the storytelling was really well done.  I do recommend this one but definitely recommend reading it when you’re ready for a sad story. Read this if you like coming of age stories & historical fiction!–Beth, @blissandbooks, September 17, 2020 

Although Let the Willows Weep is set in the pre-Civil Rights era South, as I read it I was struck that it could be set during anytime. Obviously, we have seen that discrimination still abounds whether it is based on race, creed or social class. The reader never learns Birddog’s given name. Birddog is the nickname that her beloved brother Denny gives her but she also is given the better moniker of Daisy Girl by Diggs, her first love’s brother. (Of course, Caul, her younger brother and her tormentor, calls her Dog Face.) Her nameless status makes her story more tragic and heart wrenching.–Debra, Eliot’s Eats, September 14, 2020

This one is difficult and heartbreaking, though the redemptive quality of the ending is moving, albeit short-lived. As a southerner who has a deep fascination with weeping willows and southern fiction, I was instantly drawn to this story and beautiful, simplistic cover. Similar to #wherethecrawdadssing and #bastardoutofcarolina this story paints a portrait of loss, grief, poverty, humility, and redemption, through the childhood and later life of Birddog Harlin. Birddog’s entire life is drowned in the shadows of her abysmal relationship with her mother, a woman who carries such deep and complicated resentments towards her only daughter it is sometimes hard to read through certain depictions. A poor family growing up in the rural south and supported by their father’s work in the local mines, Birddog’s world is continually shattered by various tragedies, an interracial relationship in an era of the Ku Klux Klan and systemic racism destroyed by hatred and judgment, a broken and dismantled family, and her inability to belong. As this title says, “Let the Willows Weep.” A southern tale that is painful yet searingly deep and hopeful at its core.–Katie McEntyre, Martinis and Memoirs, July 8, 2020

“A coming of age story about a young girl named Birddog. Her life is anything but easy and full of disappointments. The story flashes back in time. Told in true southern grit that I love. This breathes heartache and hit me to the core. I shed tears. The writing is brilliant and so poetic. So many lines just come to life and linger. A hauntingly beautiful tale. What a remarkable read.–Dawnny Ruby, Novels N Latte Review, June 27, 2020

“Sherry Parnell’s LET THE WILLOWS WEEP is a coming-of-age story about a family bound by the restraints of a life financed by its coal miner father and overshadowed by its never satisfied mother. A story of struggle, loss, and redemption, Parnell masterfully writes vivid descriptions, a riveting plot, and a protagonist who will endear herself anyone who picks up this book.IndieReader, May 9, 2020

Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell is a touching, dramatic and heartbreaking novel about Birddog and her family in the rural south. Birddog is a daddy’s girl, who loves her fiercely back. That’s a good thing, as she is her mother’s “greatest disappointment.” Birddog has two brothers, Denny who is her guardian and Caul, who torments her at every turn. When tragedy strikes, the family is unable to recover and falls apart. The book is skillfully written, with the first and last chapters through the eyes of an adult Birddog. The rest is about Birddog and her coming-of-age story. Beautifully written, phrases come off as poetry, lyric and descriptive. The reader will come to love Birddog through the story, taking her side and wondering at the cruelty of a mother. Tears are shed, and Birddog’s first love story will break your heart. Let the Willows Weep is an emotional read, one that will question a mother’s love, but that reminds us that everyone can change.” Our Good Life, #ourgoodlifebooklist, April 2020

Family, Drama and Dreams. The years of our youth form the times of our elder years. Between those years is the experiences that Sherry Parnell explores in her book “Let The Willows Weep”. A youth learns from harshness and kindness while finding her own self awareness within the story. Family is the basis for such growth for a young girl who experiences the range of these characteristics between her Mother,Father and brothers. She grows and develops but how does all her early treatment during childhood shape her and influences her choices as an adult? Parnell writes with an emotionally strong style. She wraps her words around your heart and takes you through a tale that makes you examine your own lives’ experiences. Backdropped in the Deep South the book is an experience well worth investing ones time. I hope anyone looking for a truly stirring, soul searching story, that will keep ones attention from beginning to end, will find a copy of “Let The Willow Weep” to have as their own.–Christine, High Society Book Reviews, April 13, 2020

This is a sweet & sad historical, fictional, coming-of-age read about love, loss, the challenges of family life & racism. It is said that, “Sometimes we cant cry enough for all the pain we feel. So we let the willows weep.” –S. Lindgren, shelfawareness2019, March 30, 2020

Very highly recommended, beautifully written, heartbreaking novel written in the tradition of rural Southern fiction. . . Parnell’s writing is simple gorgeous, descriptive, poetic, and sublime. Even while describing difficult, hurtful, abusive situations, the sentences are perfectly crafted and the reflections are unflinchingly told. Birddog is a memorable, very well-developed character. This novel is through her point-of-view, and her self-examination about her mother and her resulting attitude. Additionally, Let the Willows Weep is an emotional novel and I teared up, or cried during scenes throughout the novel. Yes, it explores the line between destruction and redemption, but the journey covers a myriad of emotions that exist between those two points.” –Lori L., She Treads Softly, March 25, 2020.

“Let the Willows Weep is about poverty, love, intolerance, shame, racism and family dysfunction. Rage is a circle that even the wisest who wish to escape can become trapped in. How is one to hope when life just keeps bringing you nothing but grief and loss? Love takes such strange shapes, it gives and takes indiscriminately in this sad tale. For those who love southern fiction with enough grit to make your eyes water.–L. Dandeneau, bookstalkerblog, March 2020

“I’m not even sure what to say. I almost wanted to give the book 4 stars because it is nothing but heartache, but it deserves 5. If you like your heart being ripped out and trampled over then you should read this book. I love southern novels because I relate to a lot of it, being raised in the south. As in the book there is a lot of exception for girls, where not a lot is expected from their brothers. I really don’t know what else to say without giving anything away and I’m kind of speechless.–Torrie Tovar, Books and Life In Review book review, February 29, 2020

“Both you and the willows will weep with Birddog Harlin as she journey’s through a world deadset against her happiness since birth. Born into a family beset by poverty and broken spirits, Birddog grows up constantly reminded that her mother finds her to be an utter disappointment, while her brother Caul branishes insult and rocks upon her daily; although she finds tenderness from her beloved father and older brother Denny, this tenderness is but shortlived. Entering into womanhood Birddog again finds tenderness, even love; but it was not meant to be a lasting love, and again, her heart and yours break. Though difficult to believe that Let the Willows Weep is a debut novel, Sherry Parnell is set to release a second in the coming year and I know that I for one, will be counting down the days. The world of southern storytelling is richer for having Sherry Parnell’s voice.–Kate, Once Upon A Book Club, February 26, 2020

“In a word, grief is the overarching theme of this book. The recurring loss the main character endures will yank on your heartstrings. It’s a coming of age story wrapped up in family relationships and to a degree, ia about what it’s like to be poor in rural America. This story investigates how hardship, disappointment, and loss can change and mold a young girl and concludes with how she endures. . . This story kept my attention from beginning to end. The characters were believable and the events and responses to what occurred, plausible. I loved the way nature was noticed and described throughout the book. Some people don’t like it when they cry as they read. I think that is the mark of a good author to be able to evoke a physical response to a story. I was in tears more than once as I worked my way through this novel. Although that’s not the nicest feeling, it certainly got me hooked and kept me reading. . . I enjoyed reading Let the Willows Weep quite completely and recommend it. It’s not a happy “warm-fuzzy” type of story at all, but does transport you into another world for the duration and will likely touch your heart.” –C. Gallmeyer, 44 Thoughts book review, February 17, 2020

This was very beautifully written and I very much enjoyed the story. I have found that I have a strong liking for most southern fiction. This one absolutely did not disappoint.–D. Schalley, The Reading Corner Book Lounge book review, February 4, 2020

This is a beautiful written book that provokes a strong emotional response from the reader. I liked the way the author used colors for the description of feelings in the characters lives and space in time. You will cry with Bird dog, the main character of the book, but also smile with her, but most importantly cheer for her.” –Vivian, Goodreads review, October 9, 2020

This is a moving, emotional story that is essentially about the differences that drive people apart and the pain people inflict on one another because they are hurting themselves.–Giana Leiva, Goodreads review, October 6, 2020

Overall this was a beautifully written Southern novel with a strong female main character. Her life was full of confusion and sorrow but at the end, she was able to find redemption.” –Susan R., Amazon review, September 16, 2020

An intriguing story. I was captivated at the first sentence!–J. Pinson, Amazon review, August 23, 2020

Great read. Definitely an interesting story. At some parts my heart broke, but all in all I definitely enjoyed reading it. I’m considering reading it again because of how it enthralled me.” –KristinS0609, Amazon review, August 19, 2020

The characters grabbed me from the start and never let go! Birddog Harlin suffers all the insecurities and pain of a dysfunctional family and yet finds love and hope in the most unlikely ways. The author’s prose gave such vivid and believable descriptions of the characters and their experiences, I almost thought they were actually sitting next to me! If you loved Where the Crawdads Sing, you will definitely love this book!–Teri Zayas, Goodreads review, August 7, 2020

“. . .the characters you do get to know well are mostly wonderful. The writing was beautiful and made Birddog very relatable. She pulls at your heartstrings, especially when you’re seeing her life through her eyes, living with a mother who will always be impossible to please. I would definitely recommend the book to someone who loves this genre . . .” –Heather Ragan, Goodreads review, August 7, 2020

Absolutely beautiful book. This had me in tears. Sherry Parnell did an absolute beautiful job.” –Laura Nasoulinh, Goodreads review, July 30, 2020

“I really enjoyed reading this unique emotional story of a young girl Birddog who always seeks to feel accepted or loved. Sherry Parnell shares a heartbreaking relationship between mother and daughter in such beautiful detailed writing. You can visualize every moment in this novel, and feel the emotion of Birddog. Throughout the novel I felt so hopeful in her resilience with what she endured. This book is a really great novel and reminds us as readers to keep our voice strong.” –Jordan, Goodreads review, July 26, 2020

A coal miner daughter. This so a wonderful book you sit love the story about acoa! Minner,s daughter that had a heartbreak every way she turns , does she find happiness or just pain page turner you can’t put it down a great free read from hidden gem” –Josephine Braddy, Amazon review, July 24, 2020

A good read. A wonderful story of a girl’s life and the many facets of growing up…struggles in a cruel world…I really loved how the author used so many descriptive words…” –DMH, Amazon review, July 19, 2020

Loved this book! Beautiful story full of pain and redemption. Well written and engaging, this book offers wisdom and hope in the face of our brokenness.” –JC, Amazon review, July 18, 2020

Well-written journey. The book is well-written. It is an emotion-filled portrait of hardscrabble, humble lives in rural America. if you come from a dysfunctional family, you may relate. Comparable to Bastards Out of Carolina.” –Madlou52, Amazon review, July 17, 2020

Sad story. While I did enjoy the writing, the story itself is sad and somewhat depressing. However, it is not an unbelievable story. It is heart-wrenching and not always easy to read. I’m glad that I read it, however, and will add this author as one I want to keep track of and watch. I felt like the characters were well-drawn and I invested in the story.” –Onereader, Amazon review, July 16, 2020

A poignant love story. This book touched my heart. Having to live her life full of sorrow must have been hard. The author pulls at your heart strings with this book. It will make you happy sad, and tearful with the life she lived. A touching love story.” –coyotecactus, Amazon, review, July 15, 2020

Heartbreakingly beautiful. Let The Willows Weep is a story about an impoverished family in Appalachia. It is meant to be set in the past. As someone who has grew up and lived in coal country for 30 years, it honestly could have been set in present times and nothing would be different. This is a story full of pain, sadness, and hope. Birddog grew up poor, her father a coal miner and her mother always disappointed in her. No matter what she did, her mother always found fault. Her mother found fault with everyone and everything, never satisfied. Nothing was ever good enough. Most of all, she found fault in everything Birddog did and said. Her father loved and accepted her no matter what. Her father was her safety and soft place to fall. My heart broke so many times reading how this child just wanted her mother to love her. She tried to do what was expected. Even when she did exactly what her mother wanted, it still wasn’t good enough. The book opens up from the perspective of Birddogs daughter, and then quickly changed to Birddogs story beginning at the age of 10. We follow her life until the age of 18. The story flowed easily and poetically. I was drawn in from the very first page and finished the book in just a few hours. The author did an excellent job expressing the hardness of life for Birddog. I felt the pain, the hope, the longing to fit in. All the emotions Birddog felt in the story, I also felt. I wanted to grab that little girl and give her the biggest hug and tell her she is good enough, no matter what her mother said. I cried with her as she experienced loss. I felt joy with her as she found love. I felt her pain when she lost all the things she lost.” –Elizabeth Walker, Goodreads review, July 14, 2020

“I’m not crying, you’re crying!!!! What an amazing story!!!! I was reminded of the emotions that I felt when I read “The Great Alone” and “Where the Crawdads Sing”, it’s been a while since I have felt something so heart wrenching. This is the tale of Birddog Harlin, a young lady growing up in rural america in a dysfunctional family. You will fall in love with Birddog and she will rip your heart out. I’m going to be thinking about this story for months to come.–Kourtney, Goodreads, June 30, 2020

Strength and Courage. I did weep, indeed! Sherry Parnell’s book “Let The Willows Weep” made me sad, but she also opened my eyes to the strength an individual can find through hard times and the courage to continue the life that was handed to you. I was not only sad, but also angry and dismayed at the heartless feelings a mother could have toward her only daughter. But, on the other hand, the author gives the reader a simple reminder that kindness doesn’t judge; a simple act of kindness goes a long way. I wanted to give the main character, Birddog a great big hug. She feels her Mother doesn’t love her. “… I reached my arms to hug her. She looked at me then turned back to the sink. I let my arms drop back to my sides and went to my room.” Birddog tries to make her Mother proud of her; longing for acceptance with open arms. Life is hard and complicated for Birddog. All she wants is to find peace and happiness. Sherry Parnell is a new author to me. She has a beautiful writing-style that had me reading the pages effortlessly; her words awarding me with vivid scenes of rural America. If you’re looking to read book of hope, strength and courage, read this book with a box of tissues by your side.” –N. Timmerman, Amazon review, June 10, 2020

“Sherry Parnell`s Let the Willows Weep is the story of `Birddog` Harlin – beautifully written, prose that reads like poetry, heartbreaking yet warming in many ways, deeply emotional and goes so deep that that feeling shall stay with you for a while at least…The joy, pain, love, hurts, hope, longing, expectations, feelings – goes on On Repeat – that`s LIFE!” –Swaroop, Goodreads review, June 7, 2020

Growing up in a small southern town. The characters are good and the scenery well described. I could picture the houses, the creek and the red barn. I loved Simon’s mom’s purple house. Everything was very well placed in the story, the language used by the characters in that setting, the troubles they had, the sorrows, all of them pulled together to create a sad but great story. I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it.” –S. McAllister, Amazon review, June 2, 2020

Beautiful tale! Wow, this book was heartbreaking, and I loved it. Birddog’s life was so heart stopping but The ending was good” –Amazon Customer, Amazon review, June 2, 2020

A MUST read. This book was an emotional journey for the main character, as much as it was for me. I felt anger, incredible sadness, empathy, disappointment, love and hurt. Wow. It packed a punch throughout, with incredible writing and storytelling ability. A coming of age story of a young girl Bird Dog, and her hardscrabble life. That something so tragic and heartbreaking could be written with such tenderness is worth yelling from the tree-tops. Don’t despair, there is hope.” –Carla, Amazon review, May 25, 2020

“Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell is the story of a young girl named Bird dog. It is a story of a hard life in the past in rural America. It was a life of exhausting work, disappointments, rejection, fear, and prejudice. This is a well written, if sad, tale. It tells of the hurt people can inflict on each other and the hope provided by one kind gesture. Although this book brims with sadness, there is a thread of hope and possibility woven into the story. If you enjoy well written fiction that speaks to the heart, you will like this book.–B. DeMoss, Amazon Review, May 19, 2020

“A story about a rural southern up-bringing,. Our main character deals with her dysfunctional family while blossoming into a young woman who recognises love regardless of race, class or outside opinions. Beautifully written. This book will leave you slightly heartbroken but also hopeful. Can we break the cycles that society has determined for us? Can we become more than we are expected to be? Can we recognise our own mistakes and change the future for the next generation? I enjoyed this read immensely and will definitely read more from this author!–E. Glaser, Goodreads review, May 17, 2020

Heartfelt story of a family surviving tremendous loss. How a Mother treats her children and their Dad can have a major impact on how they feel about themselves for the rest of their lives . . Wonderful descriptions of the town, the characters and the immense struggles of poverty make this a great read. Although the abusive behavior and tremendous losses are difficult, it is worth finishing this story.” –J. Chepko, Amazon review, May 17, 2020

“This book was a quick read to me and I would say I enjoyed it but it also made me cry a ton” –C. French, Goodreads review, May 13, 2020

Great coming of age story! Sherry Parnell’s debut novel is a coming of age story filled with pain woven in with a strong sense of self. The author was successful in bringing the pain experienced by the main character off of the page and felt by the reader. Nicknamed Birddog, the main character is a member of a dysfunctional family. She experiences loss in the form of death, a lack of love and abandonment. This is such a complex story and I felt it truly captured how complex familial love can be as well as relational love. I was so disappointed more than once! My favorite part of this story is how confident Birddog is in her shoes and how she doesn’t bend just to make people happy, she is so true to herself. This was an easy read and appropriate for many readers.” –Amazon Customer, Amazon review, May 13, 2020

“Getting to know”birddog”was wonderful. Reading all the tragedies that befell her family was heartbreaking. I grieved with her and for her when the mine accident happened. I worried about her relationship with her mother and what would happen to her. It was a moving experience to get to see her grow up and the evolution of her family.” –Patricia, Goodreads review, May 11, 2020

“Sherry Parnell’s debut novel is a coming of age story filled with pain woven in with a strong sense of self. The author was successful in bringing the pain experienced by the main character off of the page and felt by the reader. Nicknamed Birddog, the main character is a member of a dysfunctional family. She experiences loss in the form of death, a lack of love and abandonment. This is such a complex story and I felt it truly captured how complex familial love can be as well as relational love. I was so disappointed more than once! My favorite part of this story is how confident Birddog is in her shoes and how she doesn’t bend just to make people happy, she is so true to herself. This was an easy read and appropriate for many readers.” –E. Hein, Goodreads review, May 3, 2020 

Let the Willows Weep is a heart-wrenching story of one girl’s journey through life. Raised in a home where she cannot seem to please her Mother and one tragedy after the next seems to occur, the reader is taken on a beautifully written and descriptive journey of Birddog’s life. I always find books like this heartbreaking and they make me question how a parent cannot love their children equally or even at times at all. The strength given to the main character is incredible and her story is one of strength. I would recommend this book” –L. Stahl, Goodreads review, May 2, 2020

This was a very well written book. I felt the love, the disappointment, the different stages and kinds of grief that the characters felt. I felt the sadness. The characters were very well written and each had their part to play in the story. I would definitely recommend this book.” –J. Thiessen, Goodreads review, April 29, 2020

This was such a heartbreaking novel, as the author’s writing really made the character’s emotional ability believable and relatable. The fact that the main character, known as Bird Dog was able to go on with life looking for a positive change as things kept getting worse for her was sad to read. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading more from this author.–C. Underwood, Goodreads review, April 27, 2020

Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell is a touching, dramatic and heartbreaking novel about Birddog and her family in the rural south…Beautifully written, phrases come off as poetry, lyric and descriptive. The reader will come to love Birddog through the story, taking her side and wondering at the cruelty of a mother. Tears are shed, and Birddog’s first love story will break your heart. Let the Willows Weep is an emotional read, one that will question a mother’s love, but that reminds us that everyone can change.” –T. Steffes, Goodreads review, April 20, 2020

Beautifully written book that will linger in your heart. I would highly recommend, this book will pull on your heart and it’ll linger there for a long time. This book is filled with tragedy, hope and redemption. You can’t help but fall in love with some of the characters and really cling onto hope for them as the story unfolds and brings you into it. This is a book that should be added to your bookshelf. It’s a beautiful book, to be shared with many. –Holly Marie, Amazon review, April 15, 2020

I was sorry to see this book end! “Let the Willows Weep” by Sherry Parnell is an emotional coming-of-age story. The majority of the book focuses on “Birddog” who received this nickname from her older brother, Denny. Birddog lives in a time when there are clear delineations between class and race. Birddog goes through more heartbreak than anyone should be able to bear, including abuse, loss, grief, adversity, abandonment, and betrayal. Parnell wove such depth into Birddog’s character that I found myself wishing I could reach into the book and give that girl some love.” –S. Wilmering, Goodreads review, April 15, 2020

I Didn’t See It Coming! Enjoyable. Touching. Emotional roller coaster. The author of this book brought the characters to life. There were some twists and turns that I never would have expected, which in turn kept my attention until the end. Speaking of the end…. I never saw it coming!!” –B. Fagel, Amazon review, April 13, 2020

Wow!! The splendidly written story of Birddog Harlen. A girl who was never quite good enough no matter how she tried. A story of poverty, a dysfunctional family, love and how with great love there also comes hurt so heart wrenching you are immune to the daily beauty of life around you and the caring of those who love you regardless of yourself. A story of racism and hatred but also redemption and great love. A story that shows that after great sorrow we are gonna be alright. Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell made me laugh and brought me to tears.but left me with the feeling of hope. You will love this book!” –Pat, Goodreads review, April 13, 2020

This is such a heart wrenching story, a tale of a young girl desperate for her mother’s approval. Birddog, as nicknamed by her beloved older brother, has a hard life by anyone’s standards. Her father’s job as a miner ensures that their everyday existence is hardscrabble at best. That would be bearable if not for the scorn of her mother. For as long as Birddog can recall, her mother hasn’t shown her more than a smidgeon of love and affection scattered randomly and unpredictably. Still she keeps trying. Will she be able to break the pattern that she’s grown up recognizing as the norm?” –S. Briseno, Goodreads review, April 7, 2020

I enjoyed everything about this book there was nothing I didn’t like about the book. I Like the setting,the writing style,the plot,the plot twists and the characters in the book were amazing.I would gladly reread it again.” — N. Bannister, NetGalley review, April 3, 2020

“I enjoyed the book very much, though It is always difficult for me to read about prejudice and it’s horrible effects on people. I felt sorrow for the characters and sadness for the pain they all felt in different ways. I always feel sad at the end of a book and wonder what could have been. Hopefully we learn to treat others with the kindness and dignity that everyone deserves!” –Jennefer, Goodreads review, March 23, 2020

“I look at some books and picture them as “seasonal reads” — something better suited for the heat of Summer or perhaps during the freezing winds of Winter. Let the Willows Weep would be a wonderful read in any season. For much of the time while reading, however, it was raining outside and the soft splatter of the drops against the window were a constant reminder that for some, hardships and disappointments in life are like a never ending rain cloud. This was a beautiful coming-of-age story about a girl nicknamed “Bird Dog”… The trials and tribulations she endured made my heart feel weighted. I just wanted to reach in through the pages and hug her close to my heart. The story walks through her life as a child, a young teen and a young woman. Each episode in her life almost seemed darker than the previous one and yet she kept moving forward — her eyes always seeking a change for the better. It is said that the willow trees weep for a reason. When our hearts cannot withstand the hurt inflicted upon us, one needs to just bury your burdens beneath the willow and let the tree do your weeping. What a wonderful thought and even if it is not true — one can hope. For without hope, what do we have? I shall never look at a weeping willow tree the same and will forever say a prayer of thanks for all they may be enduring so that others may live without sorrow.” –N. Baker, Goodreads review, March 21, 2020 

Beautiful writing, sad, depressing. This book reminds me of a cross between Educated and Where the Crawdads Sing. The writing is beautiful but the subject matter is so hard (think Educated) and depressing and none of the characters were really likable except for the main character Birddog. She was a sweet child that was abused and mistreated and that is what made it so depressing and hard to accept while reading it. I though the writing was beautiful and descriptive but the subject matter was just really hard to deal with. While this is a work of fiction things like this happen in real life and that is what makes it so sad.” –G. Mazzuca, Amazon review, March 15, 2020

So emotional! This story really takes you on an emotional roller coaster!! I love the relationships that are portrayed here, the good and the bad. I really felt bad for her and it stirred up some feelings in me the way her mother, and brothers, treated her. Man, it made me want to shake some sense into her mother. The hardships and heartbreak that Birddog goes through just tears at your heartstrings, and it goes to show that you can’t help who your heart loves. A very good, emotional book.” –amgrassi, Amazon review, March 9, 2020

A Southern tale with a shocker ending. I will keep Sherry Parnell on my favorite author’s list. Her words ring in your mind like a gospel song. There is at least one place in every chapter that brings me near to tears with just the picture of the southland with all her trials and gifts. I could not in this novel solidify the time in years – this is an anytime picture of the deep south, a heritage we all hope has evolved, as did our mothers, our grandmothers. It is a slice out of time that bridges into our modern age but doesn’t quite reach the ground on this side. Something we all have to keep working on, that bridge.” –Bonnye Reed Frye, Amazon review, March 8, 2020

This emotional read is officially one of my favorites. The lovely way it was written suits my book needs perfectly. The tragic characters made the book worth continuing. This book is amazing. My only issue was that the beginning was a little confusing. I eventually realized what was going on but it was still pretty confusing. I loved what the author was trying to do with the flashbacks but I don’t think it worked. The ending also seemed a bit rushed and spontaneous. The meat of the book was great though. I will definitely be recommending it to people.” –Anja’s Library, Goodreads review, March 7, 2020

Where Can I Hide? This story here is told by the life of the girl where she lived as a daughter of a coal miner daughter,where the mother was very disappointed in her daughter and let her know every single day! We All come from dysfunctional families how much is hers? They have their struggles and her protectors are her older brother and father until things changed! You go from home life to school…Verbal abuse is worse than physical cause the scar stays inside. Everything she does is always wrong. You travel with this girl as she grows up to a adult and to see how this effects her life! The tragedies she faces will they make her strong or does she call apart? What happens when she falls I love? You feel All of the emotions that the characters have and you better have the tissues. I didn’t want to finish the book and then I did, hoping the story would change and it did,but you will have to read this for yourself to see how her life turns out! Received this from Net Gallery and the characters are so real that you really know the family. We All come from dysfunctional families It’s just some are worse than others,you tell me where you think this family is?? It’s a very much read !!” –T. Wiley, Amazon review, March 6, 2020

Weepy. Make sure you have plenty of tissues handy while reading as this is weepy in places. Life can be paper thin and is easily torn apart. You will find this while reading this tale” –Tanyawriter, Amazon review, March 4, 2020

Slow burn. Oh my goodness, I didn’t want to close this book. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Birddog! I completely fell in love with this sweet young girl and completely connected with the feeling of being unwanted. I want to continue knowing her story. Truth be told, I wanted to find her and rescue her from that mother and her challenging life. The story is so real, and bittersweet. It is told in a slow sweeping way with a realistic view of a life that wasn’t perfect but cruel in a silent way.” –Brett N., Amazon review, March 1, 2020

“As the weeping willow tree is my favorite tree, I felt drawn to this book and I was so drawn into this book, that I read it in a day. Make that half of a day. I simply could not stop reading the lyrical and beautifully constructed sentences that meandered through this magnificent novel. This novel could be set in any time frame and In practically any country. The novel is that relevant. It should be read in high school not only for the qualities mentioned above, but for the empathetic nature to the many conditions of life that the story provides to linger over and to ponder but mostly, to question. Excellent read and expertly penned novel.–Gwen A., Goodreads review, February 29, 2020

Remarkable book, hours later the messages run in my head. Oh man, one of those books that grip you and you can’t shake it off after closing it. Maybe I’m starting to cry alot, or this book is just that moving. In page one we see where a father is leaving his family. From there we get to learn who birddog was, who peacock was, and a love so profound with daisy girl. To learn childhood protectors can be full of love and hate as full grown men. I’ve tried to figure out about what years this book would be based in, even though it has gotta be around 60s or 70s do to mines, walking miles to school, all the side details this book holds strong even today. I never could figure out Mothers double standards, but I guess that happens alot , in this day in age. So much of me wants to hate this book, but I can’t, as much has I dislike that we can’t be color blind to people’s skin, I got enjoy a book where for 2 young people love was more then skin deep. We must learn we can lose alot but to never build a prison with bars that we lose ourselves in.” –Kindle Lover, Amazon review, February 24, 2020

This is a beautifully written book. The prose just flows and is often poetic. Ms. Parnell really knows how to turn a phrase in a way that is so succinctly descriptive and sweepingly emotional. . . The reader can literally feel the desperation build to the breaking point as each change to the family structure occurs. This is a tragic story. So tragic I had to set it down for a few days before I could face the remainder of it. I knew it wasn’t going to get any better. But I was wrong. The book did end on a note of hope and for that I am relieved.” –A. Springer, Amazon review, February 22, 2020

This author brings an emotionally raw book to life through the characters. This book is not a simple story yet the theme is tragically a common thread in many lives. Dysfunctional families, mental conditions, mental abuse, childhood emotional trauma and trying to grow up and develop a normal sense of self worth and love and belonging. This book was recommended for me as I loved “where the crawdads sing”… sometimes I had to Put the book down and at other times I couldn’t stop turning the pages. This book connects with readers on many levels.–Dr. M. Smith, NetGalley review, February 20, 2020

Great book. I highly recommend this book. It’s a story of heartache and perseverance. I read it in 1 day. Wonderful storyline.” –Amanda, Amazon review, February 19, 2020

A touching novel for sensitive women. This is a very touching novel about a powerful and sensitive woman, Birddog, her daughter, and their tough life experiences. It is a wonderful novel about love and feelings, raw emotions, bond, and strength. The book’s design is fantastic, and so is the book’s front cover. I recommend this book to all romantic women.” –The Very Hungry Reader, Amazon review, February 19, 2020

Wonderful story line. This book is a wonderful romp through the challenges of a dysfunctional upbringing and the strength to persevere. The story is compelling and the characters have depth that comes from a full backstory. I recommend the book highly.” –Laura Colette, Amazon review, February 18, 2020

An Amazing Read. Lots of sadness and tears while reading, but I finished it a little more humble and thankful for all I have in my life.” –J. Huntley, Goodreads review, February 18, 2020

Good read. I found it interesting and couldn’t stop reading this. I love reading and very particular in what I read but I found this book really good.” –S. Williams, Amazon review, February 16, 2020

Stunning!!!! Beautifully written story about a dysfunctional family that will grab you in and not let go. Told in a way that will pull you in and not let go. I will be looking for more reads by this author. . .” –msluv2read, Amazon review, February 15, 2020

Read this! You can’t help fall in love with Birddog and feel every bit of her pain. You want to hug her as a little girl and continue until she is an adult. I recommend this book!!” –B.T., Amazon review, February 15, 2020

I loved this story. It conjured up so many emotions as I read it. . . It is compelling and will have you empathizing with birddog as she navigates her life choices. . .” –M. Jelks-Emmanuel, Amazon review, February 10, 2020

“I thought this book was very impactful. It was written beautifully and even though it was a relativity short read the author made you connect and feel with the characters, which can be difficult to achieve in a shorter text such as this one. Very nice, flowing language as well. . .” –Sarah M., Goodreads review, February 6, 2020

Well written book about relationships, love and loss. This was a beautifully written novel about family, love and loss. . . The author creates a mesmerizing atmosphere and really pulls us into her world. . .” –M. Izquierdo, Amazon review, February 6, 2020

“I like this book even though it is hard to read at at times. . . The story is told in beautiful prose in spite of the subject matter and it certainly kept my attention. Great book. I highly recommend.–S. Wood, NetGalley review, February 4, 2020

Such a great novel. Sad and heartbreaking at how the words you speak can break a person’s spirit and their self-worth.” –Missy, Goodreads review, February 2, 2020

You will fall in love with the main character “Bird dog”. I am usually an instant gratification reader. I have been known to want get to the meat of the story often skipping over the narration. I heard wonderful things about this book from family members so I gave it a try. The author of Let The Willows Weep was able to draw me in and keep me there without my typical impatience. Although we never know the exact town or location of this story I had the feeling that it was in the south “any town USA”. The characters were so beautiful depicted that I felt like I knew them personally. From the beginning of the book you will route for the main character, Bird dog. I cried with her, but also cheered for her. I highly recommend getting lost in this beautifully written story. I look forward to reading more from this author! I’m a changed reader 😊” –J. Halpin, Amazon review, January 27, 2020

Beautiful. This was one of the most touching books I’ve read. It was so deep and the words in which this story was told brought both tears and smiles” –J. Hoffman, Goodreads review, January 27, 2020

Great book – I highly recommend!!–K. Webb, Goodreads review, January 22, 2020

If you want to feel sad, mad, and compassionate, read this book. Dysfunctional family is just the tip of the iceberg. Well written, wonderful characters to hate and love and a moving story. Just know you are going to experience all kinds of emotion when you read this. Well done.–T. Olson, Goodreads review, January 9, 2020

“Sherry Parnell’s stunning novel, Let The Willows Weep is a story of brokenness and ultimate redemption. Through the lens of a beautiful young woman nicknamed “Birddog” by her beloved brother, we come to see how grief shapes a generation, leaving untold invisible scars in its wake. We witness how those scars govern the lives of “Birddog” and her loved ones, through decades of private suffering. We celebrate the heartwarming, affectionate relationship she has with her Dad. We privately wish that her Mother were capable of demonstrating any degree of affection, love. We cheer for Birddog’s strength of character and cringe when those around her diminish it. Bring tissues. The author’s characters are so well-developed that you’ll be drawn in completely and feel as though you know these people as your own. In the end, we the reader, along with “Birddog” come to discover what shaped her Mother’s distance and inability to give of herself. That epiphany leaves the reader with hope not only for the author’s heroine and her Mother, but for ourselves as well. And isn’t that the start of everything worthwhile?” –L. Leshaw, Goodreads review, January 3, 2020

This Book Covers So Much about Class, Culture, Gender and Love. This book is beautifully written and features the most raw, human emotions that are both tender and volatile. Let the Willows Weep explores the mining industry, an American institution, socioeconomic class, family dysfunction and race. Somehow through the sadness, heart ache and grit that surrounds Birddog Harlin’s life, she finds beauty in the small moments and human interactions with those who have shown her compassion and love. Despite all that she’s been through, she can share that love in a powerful way.” –J. Sherwin, Amazon review, December 30, 2019

Relationships and life experiences. Let The Willows Weep resonates with every person: relationships, family dynamics, life coming full circle. The characters within the book made me feel as if I personally knew them; I became attached to their lives in many aspects. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will conclude my review with IT IS A MUST READ! Thank you to the author for an amazing book. Personal note: I am 77 years old, A father of four children, 12 grand children and I am buying each one of them a copy for one of their holiday gifts!” –R. Gleeson, Amazon review, December 19, 2019