A supernaturally gifted woman comes to terms with her past in Darr’s debut novel.
Springen “Spring” O’Flaherty is ready to begin her sessions with therapist Dr. Jill Martin, in part because she’s been keeping an extraordinary secret from the man she loves. From her earliest childhood as a preacher’s daughter in the Appalachian Mountains, Spring has been aware that she possesses a wide array (or “smorgasbord,” as she calls it) of psychic powers, from precognition to divination. Most prominently, she has the ability to see the multicolored auras that surround people, and she can also predict their natures and fates. She once confided to her best friend, Tommy Herndon, that her prayers for God to help her make sense of her gifts have gone unanswered. For Spring, “avoidance had become a way of life” because she’d hidden her special nature from most people; she ruefully admits that “most of the time being different wasn’t any fun at all.” But she’s determined to work through her memories so that she can embrace the promise of the present with district attorney Jed Collinsworth, with whom she’s dreaming of spending the rest of her life—and the process centers on coming to terms with a devastating tragedy. Overall, Spring’s story is memorable and affecting. Darr smoothly and skillfully handles a series of well-executed flashbacks in which readers see Spring gradually come to understand how her powers work as well as the personal toll they take on her; for example, after a trauma, she recalls, “I’d turned into a zombie. I was a fossil like those found flash frozen in the Arctic.” The author’s depiction of the simplicity and beauties of life in rural Appalachia are semipoetical highlights of the novel: “the bright green tree canopy was highlighted by a froth of color, courtesy of the wildflowers,” Spring observes on the day she first brings Jed to meet her family. Darr also provides wonderfully believable dialogue to every major and minor character in the story.
An evocative, involving novel about how mystical powers can complicate one’s life.