In West Mills

In West Mills

by De'Shawn Charles Winslow


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"A bighearted novel about family, migration, and the unbearable difficulties of love. Here's a cast of characters you won't soon forget." Ayana Mathis, author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

"Winslow's impressive debut novel introduces readers to both a flawed, fascinating character in fiction and a wonderful new voice in literature." Real Simple, Best Books of 2019


A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice


Named a Most Anticipated Novel by


Let the people of West Mills say what they will about Azalea “Knot” Centre; they won't keep her from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, when motherhood looms, Knot begins to learn that her freedom has come at a high price. Low on money, ostracized from her parents and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home.

Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt to help his older sister, who lives a precarious life in the North, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he's busy trying to fix Knot's life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.

Spanning decades in a rural North Carolina town where a canal acts as the color line, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635573404
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 69,987
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

De'Shawn Charles Winslow was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and holds a BFA in creative writing and an MA in English literature from Brooklyn College. He lives in New York.

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In West Mills 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
One of the books you will remember for a long time.
TakingTime 4 months ago
3.75 stars Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for a chance to read and review this book. Published June 4, 2019. This was a first time read of anything by Winslow and I am not sure exactly what is was about this book, but I loved it. I think it was a mixture of things. I am always amazed by a man that can write a woman's part so well. Even if it was a character like 'Knot' - rough and tumble, mouthy and more often with a drink in her hand than not. I liked the southern aspect of this story and also the authentic speech. It was a good story about family relationships, how bad they can get, and how things are carried down thru generations.
Anonymous 4 months ago
the story was so sweet and sad
JGFavor More than 1 year ago
The story of “In West Mills” surrounds Knot, a flawed character, that you cannot help but to root for her. This is due to the Winslow’s multi-dimensional development of the characters. Otis Lee and Valley are unsung heroes in the life of Knot, and in contrast, closer to her than her biological family. I could not put this book down anticipating the twists and turns of friendships and secrets. Bravo to De’Shawn Charles Winslow for brilliantly depicting “In West Mills” over a forty-year period.