Monday, January 4, 2016

North of Here by Laurel Saville

The sounds of unexpected tragedies—a roll of thunder, the crash of metal on metal—leave Miranda in shock amid the ruins of her broken family.

As she searches for new meaning in her life, Miranda finds quiet refuge with her family’s handyman, Dix, in his cabin in the dark forests of the Adirondack Mountains. Dix is kind, dependable, and good with an ax—the right man to help the sheltered Miranda heal—but ultimately, her sadness creates a void even Dix can’t fill.

When a man from her distant past turns up, the handsome idealist now known as Darius, he offers Miranda a chance to do meaningful work at The Source, a secluded property filled with his nature worshipers. Miranda feels this charismatic guru is the key to remaking her life, but her grief and desire for love also create an opportunity for his deception. And in her desperate quest to find herself after losing almost everything, Miranda and Dix could pay a higher price than they ever imagined.

REVIEW: North of Here by Laurel Saville is an entrancing but unpredictable mystery and suspense thriller set in the enigmatic and perplexing mountains of the Adirondack Park and its environs in upstate New York, which is roughly more than six million acres. Indeed, this stunning beauty of 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers, huge tracts of dark forests, countless wetlands, mysterious wildlife, struggling farms, dramatic weather and 46 mountains over 4000 feet is an ideal setting for a story that explores the intertwined lives of four different people from diverse backgrounds who are examining their lives in their quest for meaning, family and love.

Miranda is an immature, self-indulgent young woman from a wealthy Connecticut family with a summer home in the mountains. When her brother and father met with an untimely death, her world turned upside down. Her cup of grief runneth over when her mother died of stroke, leaving her forlorn and broken. She sought refuge in the arms of Dix, who is a dependable local handy-man. Dix encountered problems he was unprepared for. Then there is the self-styled guru, Darius, who runs The Source and who seemingly have finally found his true calling when everything else failed. Miranda is irresistibly drawn to him. The social worker Sally also plays a pivotal role as others are entangled in a web of lies and deceit.

North of Here by Laurel Saville is a captivating story of people searching for healing and redemption in their own different ways. The main characters are well-conceived, and readers will easily empathize these characters who are full of flaws. The central character Miranda’s woes never seemed to end. In her desperation to fill the void in her life Miranda has placed herself in an unenviable situation. I love Dix! Kind and understanding, he was willing to be there for Miranda when she needed him most although he knew her needs were much deeper. In the end, he falls for her, hard and truly. Author Laurel Saville’s story of the fragility and emptiness of life without purpose and meaning, and how people are not quite what they seem, will stay with readers long after the book is shelved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurel Saville is the award-winning author of "Henry and Rachel," the memoir "Unraveling Anne" and several other books, as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories, which have appeared in The Bark, The Bennington Review, House Beautiful, the LA Times Magazine,, Room and many other publications. Laurel has an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College.


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