"They had been told their sacrifice was for the public good. They were never told how much they would miss it, or for how long."
Drowned Town explores the multigenerational impact caused by the loss of home and illuminates the joys and sorrows of a group of people bound together by western Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes and the lakes that lie on either side of it. The linked stories are rooted in a landscape forever altered by the mid-twentieth-century impoundment of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and the seizing of property under the power of eminent domain to create a national recreation area on the narrow strip of land between the lakes. The massive federal land and water projects completed in quick succession were designed to serve the public interest by providing hydroelectric power, flood control, and economic progress for the region—at great sacrifice for those who gave up their homes, livelihoods, towns, and history.
The narrative follows two women whose lives are shaped by their friendship and connection to the place, and their stories go back and forth in time to show how the creation of the lakes both healed and hurt the people connected to them. In the process, the stories emphasize the importance of sisterhood and family, both blood and created, and how we cannot separate ourselves from our places in the world.
View From Within
For What It's Worth
Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music
Across the Creek
Drowned Town is a tender, touching book about a thoroughly urbanized and cynical Louisville attorney shedding her prejudices about country life and ways to find love amid the watery landscapes of western Kentucky. As a backdrop for the developing romance, Jayne Moore Waldrop offers a tender portrait of women's friendship, and poignantly evokes the countryside and towns before their flooding by the great TVA lakes.~Fenton Johnson, author of The Man Who Loved Birds
In graceful prose, dotted with zingers and surprises, Jayne Moore Waldrop weaves a modern story of reconciliation and hope around this heartbreaking history. I'm impressed by her undaunted plunge into the subject and the compelling fiction she comes up with.~Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Dear Ann
Through a counterpoint of interwoven narratives, Jayne Moore Waldrop has given us a vivid portrait of a particular place – far western Kentucky – over a period of half a century. Drowned Town is a story of loss and hope, of family and community, set on a lake and in the Land Between the Lakes, taking us from homesteads, to penitentiary, to lakeside mansion, and the affections and allegiances that transcend wrenching change. You will not forget these people, their dislocations, loyalties, love of land, love of home, sustaining love.~Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
There is a fierce current of remembrance that pulses within these stories, which will not allow a Cumberland River community to be erased by water or time. Jayne Moore Waldrop is a very talented writer and in Drowned Town she vividly renders the human cost of what those in power call progress.~Ron Rash
The novel's shifts between characters and time periods, from the beginning of the dam project to a contemporary moment, create a swirling, circular pacing that reflects the collapsed history of those who straddle the land's past and present. Once all evidence of human habitation is bulldozed to make way for the lake and recreation area, what the novel Drowned Town memorializes is a landscape in which, for successive generations, beauty is 'intertwined with loss and sorrow.'~Foreword Reviews
With the deft hand of a water colorist, she explores the notion of home, drawing insights from her family's experience of leaving Pike County to relocate to western Kentucky before she was born.~Northern Kentucky Tribune