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A Distant Whistle by Kay Meredith

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This is an historical novel set in the early 20th Century. The protagonist, Nev Phillips, grows up in an abusive West Virginia family near the Ohio River. He is drawn to the river steamboats, but once hired on is racked by guilt for leaving his younger siblings to deal with their mother’s wrath. The great 1913 flood and the Spanish Flu epidemic provide an historical context for this drama. The author, Kay Meredith, was inspired to write this novel by her father who, in the following decades, became the youngest steamboat engineer on the Ohio. She was part of the U. S. Dressage Team and wrote articles about that sport before writing this, her first novel. She now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Willow Spring, North Carolina: Realization Press, Second Edition, 2019. 369 pages. Trade paperback.