Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: North of Here, by Laurel Saville {ends 2/23}

Miranda did not want to leave. There was so much comfort to be had here. She turned to Dix and smiled. He nodded. The deal had been struck, accepted, wordlessly. He left her alone in the cottage, closing the door quietly behind him. Miranda listened to his few footfalls on the porch. Then, they were lost in the grass beyond. A raven gurgled and was answered. Ducks quacked at each other as they flew somewhere overhead. She sat in an upholstered chair in the corner of the room and levered off her shoes. Silence settled. She closed her eyes. This was a place she could heal. She felt that. And at the same moment, she was overwhelmed with the realization of just how much healing there was for her to do.

This is Laurel Saville's second book, but my first time encountering her work, and it was very good. Parts of it reminded me of Martha Marcy May Marlene a bit, and I also liked the way the book was structured, chapter-wise.

Official synopsis:
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.


This book surprised me by having no central protagonist - Miranda, Dix, and Sally share equal time on the pages, as does Darius, the man who starts a cult-like commune where Miranda and Sally live. Sally lives there because it's her land, and she wants to keep an eye on her tenant; Miranda lives there out of choice, because she wants to do good in the world and thinks she can accomplish that at The Source. 

Miranda's had a hard life so far, also: in quick succession, her entire family died - her brother from a car accident where he was driving drunk, her father from a freak accident during a storm, and her mother from the aftermath of all of this taking too much of a toll on her. Miranda lives with Dix for a while but then hears about The Source, and figures out that she actually knows Darius from a previous time in her life, too. 

I found this novel to be interesting, and I liked how each section was ordered - Miranda and Dix is the first section, then Darius and Sally, then Darius and Miranda, and so on. Two unlikely characters must team up near the end of the book, too, to accomplish something important, and the last section focuses on them. 

I'd recommend this novel for anyone who likes "slice of life" stories or who is from the New York area - the story takes place in the Adirondacks, and so those who enjoy nature will find the book to be interesting too.

4 stars out of 5.

North of Here will be in stores on March 1st - click here to pre-order.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a hardcover copy of this book!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, February 23rd, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the next day via email and will have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

North of Here

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