Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
Jane Schumacher is shepherding her charismatic boss towards the White House. But after visiting her doctor, Jane returns to her upcountry hometown only to discover her sister is the victim of spousal abuse. A riveting story of sibling strife, grief and redemption.

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Words: 102,900
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458026392
About RM Doyon

R.M. Doyon has been a journalist, speechwriter, publicist and author for more than three decades.

He began his journalism career in 1978 with the Ottawa Citizen before joining United Press International as a political reporter and Parliamentary Bureau Chief, where he crossed paths with six Canadian prime ministers, an American president and countless other international leaders.

He released his first debut novel, UPCOUNTRY, in the fall of 2010. It is the explosive story of Jane Schumacher, a smart, savvy and often profane aide to the Governor of New York and leading contender for the presidency.

After visiting her doctor before Thanksgiving, Jane's life is turned upside down. Abruptly, she decides to return to her hometown in the shadows of the Adirondacks to make amends with her estranged family but soon discovers her sister is the victim of spousal abuse. Her dilemma? Simply pull her sister from her husband's evil clutches or, with seemingly nothing to lose, take justice into her own hands.

Set against an engaging backdrop of modern political times, Upcountry is a riveting, page-turning story of sibling strife and affection, of sadness and grief, and finally redemption and rebirth. It is based on a true story.

In September, 2013, Doyon released THOU TORTUREST ME, a sequel to Upcountry and a story that returns readers to Morgan County, NY. It is a sweltering Labor Day weekend in 2010, and the clan has returned to celebrate a milestone in Hubie Schumacher's life--and possibly bring closure to the events of that fateful Thanksgiving nearly four years before.

Immediately, we meet a couple of young lovers from completely disparate walks of life, spawning an affair that sets in motion a violent clash of cultures fueled by principle and prejudice.

In addition to Upcountry and Thou Torturest Me, Doyon is the author of Pirouette, a stage-play on the life and times of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and has co-written two screenplays ('Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda' and 'The Last Carousel') with his wife Shelley Anthony.

Thank you for reading this far. Keep your eyes open on Smashwords for both Upcountry and Thou Torturest Me!

Also by This Author


Review by: YA Reader on Jan. 27, 2011 :
Upcountry is a very fascinating read and not at all what I expected when I began reading. I've never read a book packed so full of really difficult issues that's worked until this one. Doyon makes you contemplate everything, from spousal abuse to terminal illness, rape to abortion; it's all there and it's really hard hitting.

Doyon's characters are fantastically developed and you know each character's personality from your first encounter with them. Jane is the one we meet initially and the most complex too by far. Her crime at the beginning of the novel sets the whole story in motion but there is more to her than meets the eye; she has a serious secret that isn't to be revealed until a good way into the novel. Unfortunately I was able to predict this secret but it didn't matter too much, when it was told it was still shocking due to the situation and context it was revealed in.

Other characters that I thought were well presented were Jane's sister, Joanne, who is the victim of domestic violence by her husband Denny, and Makenna who I will not give any information about as she forms a very exciting but also moving subplot. Both gave the story depth and helped to really link the story together as well as Joanne's son Brent, the twins' father Hubie and Roberto Alvarez (Jane's boyfriend who is crucial to the novel).

As well as the characters I really enjoyed the theme of politics which ran through the novel. It's such an exciting time in terms of government in both the US and the UK at the moment so this element was particularly gripping. Jane works for the governor of New York, Foley, and she has high ambitions for him. Unfortunately her own life gets in the way but his role in her life is vital to the story right until the end.

Although at times Upcountry is a tad unbelievable, as long as you are able to suspend your disbelief whilst reading, you're really in for a treat. There's also a sequel to look forward to when you're done. Be sure to read this one because I highly doubt you'll be disappointed!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Betty Redden on Jan. 24, 2011 : (no rating)
Just finished Upcountry, and I loved it! I couldn't put
the book down and didn't want it to end. I can't wait for
the sequel.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Glenda Bixler on Jan. 24, 2011 :
Tt's strange to claim that a book is wonderful when the two main characters are involved in murder. But I'm saying it--this book is beautifully written and beautiful to read. Upcountry by R. M. Doyon was inspired by true events and Doyon has created characters that come alive as if the activities are happening as we read. There is no way readers will not be immediately pulled into the story and claiming your full attention right to the very last page. Somehow I predicted what that ending would be, but it still left me smiling and content when I closed the book! If you love true-life drama, you are going to love Upcountry.

On the other hand, this book is so intertwined and full of secrets that it is hard to share the storyline without giving too much away, so I'm choosing to share about the characters.

Jane and Joanne are fraternal twin sisters. Joanne stayed at home and married right out of high school, while Jane left their home town, working her way into a high position handling PR for the Governor of the State and assisting him to run for the presidency of the United States.

Their father is living next door to Joanne; their mother died of cancer. Her funeral was one of the few times that brought Jane back home, but not for long. Jane had purposely pulled away from the family and the pain and anger she had felt in her hometown.

But once again, her Dad had sent her a holiday card, as he had done for every single holiday since she had left, and for this Thanksgiving, she decided to visit the family, rather than spend the time with her lover, who had planned to seek her commitment to marriage during their time together.

Her coming home did not just disrupt those potential plans, however. Before the Thanksgiving day was over, Jane had committed murder!

And when she grabbed the shotgun to leave, she took her sister with her! During their time moving away from the scene of the crime, Joanne played and sang in a bar, Jane used the shotgun to bust into an amusement park where the twins rode all of the rides before escaping from the police who were coming, and Joanne drove a snowmobile away from the cabin where they had been staying, directly toward the four police cars coming, which included a high jump over the last car on the road!

But there were more tears than thrills as the two sisters shared the secrets that had kept them apart for so long...

This is a special book that I hope you don't miss! It's about family, forgiveness, and love measured against the evil that lives within some of those people we share our lives with. It's a good triumphs type of book, with all the issues tied up in a bow when you finish, even if some of the packages bring sorrow rather than joy... Highly recommended for all and a perfect book to read during the start of this New Year!

Book Received Via
Facebook Reviewers Roundup

G. A. Bixler
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Fran Lewis on Jan. 24, 2011 :
Author: R.M. Doyon
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Family is precious and relationships often change throughout a person’s life. But, one constant is the bonds that unite one’s family. However, that is not always the case. Jane Schumacher’s family has not seen her for many years. Her perspective about family and past are about to take a drastic turn as I review Upcountry, by author R.M. Doyon.

Jane Schumacher’s life is about to change in many different directions and ways. As press secretary for the Governor of New York, she is used to being in the limelight dealing with a highly charged political world. Her boss is running for President and her job is to make him a marketable candidate.
But, as she is about to embark on this journey with him, life hands her a curve and things change for her. Receiving some life-changing news shortly before Thanksgiving, abruptly, Jane decides to return to her upstate New York hometown of Morgantown, and to her estranged family.
As she ponders her past and comes face-to-face with her present, she enters her sister’s home and a scene that will set in motion one event that will change her and her sister’s life. Spousal abuse is a behavior that engulfs and involves many symptoms.
Joanne, her sister, is married to Denny, a man who takes pleasure in degrading her in public and anyone in his wake. Threatening verbal and physical abuse on her and others, he justifies his actions in his mind and others. Soon after Jane arrives, Denny openly insults her in his attempt to inflate his own ego, thereby creating his own sense of sense of control.
However, what happens as a result of Jane witnessing his actions towards her sister will surprise you. What Joanne does as a result of her Jane's response will further surprise the reader as the two sisters, reunite and take a journey into the future together. One sister is freed from one set of chains and another must face her own.
Traveling together for the first time in many years, the sisters meet many people along the way including Matt Booker who owns and operates a motel, bar and restaurant. Hiding from the police and not wanting to face what happened back in Morgantown, Jane and Joanne must decide what will happen next. Some will understand and others will drift farther apart because the stark reality sets in and the truth is told.

As Jane decides their next move, she calls an old beau, Brian Boychuk, the county sheriff back home, and explains certain facts to him hoping to draw him away from her sister yet not telling him the truth about what happened. Her father, cousins and others are concerned about the outcome. The sheriff wants to help but his hands are tied.
Sisters should have a special bond and relationship. They should be each other’s best friend. But Jane and Joanne parted company years before due to their mother’s attitude and treatment of Jane. Yet, they are in this together and hopefully something positive will result. And Jane is harboring a secret of her own--one that she has kept to herself and to the exclusion of her lawyer boyfriend, Roberto.

The author brings to light the very serious issues linked to spousal abuse. Recounting the events in Joanne’s life you can hear the screams of pain inflicted on her and the verbal slurs and abuse carried out by her husband. Staying with him seemed like her only choice. Men like Denny Lowry need to have a sense of power and control over people. Joanne did not have the courage to leave, although at times she did stand up to his attacks. But physically she was no match.
But when you read about his fate, you need to decide who is the victim and who is guilty? Would you agree with what one of the characters did in order to free her sister from bondage and the abuse? What would you have done?

As Roberto tries to determine Jane's motives for her action, Jane must decide what will happen next in her life and where she will wind up. Her sheriff friend is still searching for answers and although he knows the truth in his heart, he is having trouble dealing with it.

Throughout this novel, you hear many voices that enter the minds of both Jane and Joanne. If you listen carefully to Jane’s inner thoughts you will relive many of the difficult conversations she had with her mother, Donna, and learn the reasons behind her leaving home.
If you listen further, you will relive with Joanne the horrors that befell her living with an abusive husband, his words and his voice. Along with that you will learn the many secrets that Jane kept from her family.
Sisters have a very close and special bond as I did with mine before she passed away this July. Reuniting with Joanne was Jane’s greatest gift to both of them as years of resentment are washed away--only to form a final bond that would remain forever. As Jane’s secrets are revealed and her fate is decided, Joanne is liberated and can now start anew once the final nightmare is over.
What these secrets are and who is involved you will have to read for yourself.
Jane, strong willed, strong minded, and was determined to shield her sister from so many truths. But as a result of her Thanksgiving trip home, we find that abuse rears its ugly head in so many ways. This includes a father caught in a tangled web by a mean and controlling woman, while Joanne’s abuse was mental, physical and psychological. A domineering woman that did not know the true meaning of the word love controlled Hubie, her father. Jane, a victim of her mother’s narrow mindedness and bias, and a family torn about by lies, decides it is time reveal the secrets that kept them apart for too long.
There are many innocent victims of this crime that need to speak up and speak out. As Denny’s voice begins finally to fade from Joanne’s thoughts and mind, Jane’s voice can be heard as she reminds her of their love and final bond; a family learns the true meaning of loyalty, friendship and love.
The circle of life has many curves and winding roads. Each bend on the never-ending circle holds many unique and exciting things in store for us. Some good and some bad will be revealed at each bend and hopefully we all can learn to become stronger and wiser in order to deal with what comes next.
An ending that will bring tears to every reader’s eyes brings new meaning to the word survival. Author R.M. Doyon’s novel is one that everyone should read to be reminded how precious life is and how short our tomorrows are before there are no more.
The ties that bind a family are fragile and yet strong. We need to always remember that and celebrate our love of family and our closeness whenever possible.
The empty space in our heart that is left behind
Within this world we all know
Reminds us just how we must cherish each day
And how precious our time is before we go

This review is dedicated to Family Love and the Memory of my best friend and sister Marcia.

This novel gets Five Beautiful Carousels with Five White Horses

Fran Lewis: reviewer
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: dan55 on Jan. 24, 2011 :
EXCELLENT novel. The best I have read in a very long time. Very well written and keeps your interest until the very end. I can't wait for the sequel! This is a must read....
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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