Review: The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell by Kate Brauning

The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell by Kate Brauning

The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell
Kate Brauning
Page Street Publishing
Published November 23, 2021

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About The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell

Seventeen-year-old Dinah runs her family’s farm in the Ozarks. When she finds her grief-stricken mother dead in the living room with wealthy rancher Gabriel Gates standing over her, Dinah’s life narrows to a single point: kill Gabriel Gates.

But Gates has built his wealth giving out bad loans and surrounds himself with bodyguards. Dinah’s mountains are now one giant foreclosure, including her own farm. It all belongs to him. Once he puts a ten-thousand-dollar reward on Dinah’s head, everyone in the starving county wants a piece of her.

Homeless and alone in the woods, all she has is Johnny, the moonshining bootlegger at home in the caves. He begs her to leave the mountains, to start over with a new life. But Dinah is hell-bent on sparking a county revolution. She’ll lose her life to see this killer dead.

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My Review

From the very beginning, I was totally invested in this book. It has this gritty, gripping writing style that I absolutely love. And I love Dinah as a character. I loved watching her grow and figure out how to be on her own and what she wanted for her life.

The last few chapters were a bit rough for me, if I’m honest. I still love the book, but there were some things that happened differently than I hoped for, and I think that kind of meant that it ended on a bit of a down note for me. I’m still thinking about it, though, days after I’ve read it, which always means it’s a book that meant a lot to me to read and that I enjoyed reading, even if it ended differently than I expected.

On the whole, I liked the gritty feel of Dinah’s town and the connections between people. I loved her as a character. I think readers who like raw, post-apocalyptic types of books will like a lot of things about THE BALLAD OF DINAH CALDWELL.

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Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Representation
Dinah is pansexual. Her best friend is Latina. Another character has two dads. Several characters are in a polyamorous relationship.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Kissing between two girls. There’s one long, descriptive scene of having sex.

Spiritual Content
Dinah doesn’t believe in any god. She believes she has deity inside herself.

Violent Content
Several scenes show graphic violence. Some descriptions are pretty gory.

Drug Content
A few characters make and run Moonshine. One man offers Dinah Moonshine to drink. She sips some but doesn’t finish her drink. A child drinks with her.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE BALLAD OF DINAH CALDWELL in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey Giard

I'm a mama, reader, and writer. Passionate about peppermint (it's not just for Christmas, okay?!), fly fishing, and movie night.

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