Friday, October 23, 2009
"Turtle Valley", by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Set in the heart of Shuswap Lake B.C. during a raging forest fire, this fiction spins a magical tale of mystery and romance, one whose characters are haunted by ghostly memories.
The story starts slowly with Kat returning to her family's home to help her aging parents prepare in case of an evacuation order. To add to the stress she is accompanied by her young child Jeremy and her husband Ezra who is recovering from a stroke and can be very irritable at times. An added problem is the fact that her former lover Jude who she still has feelings for lives across the road from her mom and dad.
Tensions build when the out of control flames rush down the hillside posing an eminent threat to the valley and its inhabitants. Kat hurries to put the family's heirlooms in order and with the heighten adrenaline and stress everyone's mind starts to play tricks on them. The family house's haunted past comes to life, some see a creepy old man and the shadow of an old lady appear and disappear into thin air and no one can explain why the burners of the stove are on.
The eerie plot and the revelation of the family secrets are somewhat predictable. I found the torment between Kat and Ezra drawn out and that some of the scenes are hard to grasp no matter what dark secrets they may reveal. The writing gets magical when Turtle Valley catches fire and all hell breaks loose. The author's descriptive scenes of falling ash and trees turning into roman candles as the fire rages through are guarantied to leave a strong image in ones mind. In whole, the author's writing is quite engaging, the plot is unique and captivating, and the cast of characters is diversified and well developed.
With "Turtle Valley", I felt slowly plunged into the world of fantasy with a touch of realism. Well done Ms Anderson- Dargatz