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.
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.
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North of Here