This dynamic, genre-bending tale involving dreams and the Roanoke Colony delivers new discoveries and venerable truths.

DANGEROUS DREAMS

A STORY OF THE LOST COLONY OF ROANOKE

A debut historical novel weaves a tale of youth, conflict, loss, and choice through one of America’s greatest mysteries.

Allie O’Shay has, in some ways, left her past behind, departing her family’s cattle ranch to pursue a doctorate in psychology. But the past is no simple thing, and Allie begins having strange, impossibly vivid dreams that seem to be genuine history, not fantasy. The dreams center on the Roanoke Colony, filling in the gaps of just how the settlement vanished. In particular, Allie feels drawn to a young colonist named Emily Colman, who’s particularly embroiled in the turmoil of Roanoke. Emily’s story offers a portrait of the colony: the escalating tensions and disastrous errors in dealing with the local Native American tribes, and the elation and grief as both new life and swift death come to Roanoke. Finally, there are Emily’s own timeless tribulations, as she contends with the romantic attentions of multiple men and faces a decision that could take her life places she never thought possible. Allie struggles to make sense of the dreams, and turns to everything from family history to cutting-edge dream theory to drugs in order to delve deeper. What’s more, as conditions in Emily’s timeline deteriorate, Allie learns she may be approaching an end to the dreams, leading to a terrifying conclusion that has wreaked havoc on the minds of women throughout her family line. Rhynard’s two compelling tales manage to combine powerful emotionality with thorough research, as both the investigations into dream theory in the present timeline and the colonial activities of the past are deftly detailed without overwhelming the characters or story. Similarly, while the narration centers on Emily and Allie, it also effectively incorporates the perspectives of all the other significant characters without becoming confusing. It’s possible that a chapter with more descriptions of Allie’s life immediately before the dreams began would have allowed readers to connect with her more in the novel’s early parts. But the suspense of the Roanoke story provides plenty of incentive to keep reading until Allie’s sections develop more weight.

This dynamic, genre-bending tale involving dreams and the Roanoke Colony delivers new discoveries and venerable truths.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5347-4081-5

Page Count: 612

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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