The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel

The Synopsis:

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.


The Woman Behind the WaterfallI don’t even know what I just read. I’m completely confused and literally have no words.

After reading the synopsis, I was really interested in learning about young Angela and her family because I typically enjoy contemporary books that thrive on family values, especially mother-daughter bonds. I was truly interested in this title, but I literally had to force myself to finish at least the first chapter. I couldn’t make it past there.

Why? Well, first off, The Woman Behind the Waterfall is told in first person present tense from the point of view of the 7 year old girl. That in itself wasn’t necessarily the problem, even though first person present is probably my least favorite writing style, I still would have given it a chance. The problem was that this 7 year old talked about herself in a way one would write a poem about someone else. Almost romantically. And with a vocabulary that even the most educated adults lack.

For example, this particular scene from Chapter 2:The moon traces the curve of my body where I was lying on the grass, recognizing the white star that was there. It pours its light down on the mould of my body and I, asleep in a springtime bed, fill with moonlight.” 

Sure it’s a beautiful mental picture and the words are very poetic, but there is no way this little girl could have known what she looked like if she was asleep.

Or this snippet from Chapter 1: “Mama, you are every comfort to every sorrow! I want to disappear into the dough of your body, pushing myself back in, you would roll and knead me into yourself and I would be safe forever.”

I just have so many questions.

Perhaps I would have liked the poetic and inspirational feel better if it had been written in third person…I really don’t know. I just know that I couldn’t finish it. I guess it just wasn’t for me, at all. Unfortunately, I’m only going to be giving The Woman Behind the Waterfall 1 out of 5 stars.

And I have to ask, have any of you read this book, or one by this author? Did I check out too soon or was I right to bail when I did? I’d love to hear your thoughts….


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Rayleigh is a Freshman in college with a major in Accounting and long-term goal of being a CPA. She is an avid reader of all genres, and just as much of her time is spent writing as it is reading. She is the Associate Editor and Web Manager for PURSUE Magazine, in addition to posting her monthly articles on their blog. Rayleigh interns for Hartline Literary Agency where she advises authors in the best way to market their books. She is also a Social Media Manager for various businesses.

Her writing pseudonym is Rae Leigh and she is in the process of seeking publication for her Dystopian novella, Program MIRA.