The Good Divide
Winner of the Eric Hoffer Book Award for General Fiction
Shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Shortlist
Finalist for the Indie Book Awards
IN THE LUSH COUNTRYSIDE OF WISCONSIN, Jean Krenshaw is the ideal 1960’s dairy farm wife. She cooks, sews, raises children, and plans an annual July 4th party for friends and neighbors. But when her brother-in-law Tommy, who lives next door, marries leery newcomer Liz, Jean is forced to confront a ten-year-old family secret involving the unresolved death of a young woman.
With stark and swift prose, The Good Divide explores one woman’s tortured inner world, and the painful choices that have divided her life, both past and present, forever.
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“VanBaale presents a vivid portrait of one woman’s lifelong struggle to find peace with what she has rather than what she desires. Fiction doesn’t get more real than this.” —Publishers Weekly
"The events that unfold in The Good Divide could be tucked anywhere in the lush countryside of middle America, a fact that speaks both to VanBaale’s skill as a storyteller and the reality of the startling events within her pages."—Aram Mrjoian, Book Riot
"...the mark of a good book is one that makes it impossible not to care." —Shannon Perri, Our Front Porch Journal
"A true Midwestern gothic...that presents and examines the possibilities of both beauty and ugliness within a person."
—Victoria Albacete, Coal Hill Review
“Spine-chilling.” —Kelly Fordon, The Common
"If Southern Gothic is a genre that interests you, I suggest taking a leap up to the Midwest and seeing what this Krenshaw curse is all about." —Morghen Tidd, Culture Vultures
“We love it. And we thought, this is what a page-turner feels like – the thrill of wondering what comes next and then quickly turning the page to find out, happy that the next chapter is not so long as to require us to wait until the next day because we shouldn’t stay up longer just to read and trying to figure out when we can read next when work, children and a myriad of another generally positive annoyances stand between us and the book.” —Ben Tanzer, This Blog Will Change Your Life
“VanBaale manages the complexity of her narrative with surprising ease. For as much as the book hops through time, each scene is carefully constructed and deployed.”—Alex Mattingly, Punchnel’s
"The Good Divide is everything a reader could ask a novel to be. There's love, conflict, suspense, character, drama and the kind of writing that would be a pleasure to read without all of the above. Each sentence is a surprise, and every turned page brings more strange and familiar, beautiful and terrible events into higher and higher definition. This was the novel I was wanting to read, to remind me how much a novel can move, absorb, and amaze me."—Laura Kasischke, author of White Bird in a Blizzard, The Life Before Her Eyes, and Mind of Winter
"Readers know that a prosperous heartland farm can still harbor dark secrets, or that a Wisconsin farm wife might try to hide her heartache behind hard work and potato salad. But The Good Divide surprises with the depth of that heartache, the intensity of the torments and jealousies that its characters succumb to or survive. 'You lose the light when you chase the shadows,' one of Kali VanBaale's characters advises, but her book memorably embraces both light and shadow, desire and defeat."—Caitlin Horrocks, author of This Is Not Your City
"Kali VanBaale offers a deliciously unsettling and fascinating tale with The Good Divide. Reminiscent of Ethan Frome, VanBaale serves up romance, deception, a main character haunted by a mysterious past, and a final, surprising retribution. The backdrop is a Wisconsin dairy farm, but the subject is the wounded recesses of the human heart."—Pamela Carter Joern, author of In Reach and The Floor of the Sky
"Kali VanBaale delivers yet again another masterpiece. With gentle echoes of Richard Yates and Sherwood Anderson, The Good Divide is an absorbing novel that conveys the chaos and complications of domesticity--a book that is sure to make your heart simultaneously swell and splinter."—Mathieu Cailler, author of Loss Angeles
"With writing so rich and detailed, readers will be transported to the 110-acres of black Wisconsin dirt that is the Krenshaw family place in 1963. Jean 'Queen Jean' Krenshaw is a jagged and complicated heroine whose dark secrets are as many as her good deeds in the community. Kali masterfully captures that crazy mystical spirit of farm folklore and backroad legacy. Dark and delicious reading for those of us who love best the characters who’ve earned their baggage and carry it for the long haul."—Jennifer Wilson, author of Running Away to Home