Seven Locks

A Novel

Seven Locks

Set in the Catskills on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Seven Locks is a spare, haunting, and beautifully written debut for readers who loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

The Hudson River Valley, 1769: A man mysteriously disappears without a trace, abandoning his wife and children on their farm at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. At first many believe that his wife, who has the reputation of being a scold, has driven her husband away, but as the strange circumstances of his disappearance circulate, a darker story unfolds. And as the lines between myth and reality fade in the wilderness, and an American nation struggles to emerge, the lost man’s wife embarks on a desperate journey to find the means to ensure her family’s survival . . .
  • Atria Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451674705 | 
  • January 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Seven Locks includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Seven Locks begins in 1769, with the disappearance of a Dutch farmer near what’s now called the Hudson River. After a spat with his wife, he heads toward the mysterious Catskill Mountains with his rifle and his dog and never returns, and she is left to run the farm while raising two small children. The father’s disappearance creates fault lines in the family, as her son blames his mother for his absence and her daughter, Judith, increasingly chafes at the farmwork, preferring to spend time at school or reading on her own. Years go by without the husband’s return, and when the tumult of the Revolutionary War unfolds in the Hudson River Valley, it changes life in the little Dutch village forever. Judith’s brother joins the New York militia and Judith runs away to make a life of her own, which leaves the narrator adrift and alone. When her plans for remarriage fail and her farm is devastated by an army’s raid for supplies, she throws herself in the Hudson River. Rescued by two slaves, she makes her way to New York City. estranged from see more

About the Author

Christine Wade
Photograph by Dion Ogust

Christine Wade

Christine Wade is a researcher with a focus on women’s health care choices and global health traditions. She has worked in Shanghai, Kunming, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur, as well as Verona, Bologna, and Rome. She lives by the Hudson River in New York City and in the Catskill Mountains. Seven Locks won a James Jones Fellowship Prize for an unpublished novel in 2009.