This book has a wonderful and interesting premise. A magical town, Renaissance, appears with the mists in the Catskill Mountains above Tarrytown, NY which is also famous for the Rip Van Winkle legend. People who are troubled enter the mist to find love, peace and acceptance. There they can work out their problems with the support of the townspeople.
Leading the town is Emanuel. Emanuel has his own legend. Supposedly his father walked into the mists when his mother was extremely ill and seemed to be dying. Emanuel's father told him of walking into the mists and went with him frequently to see if it reappeared. When Emanuel's parents died, he went looking for the mists again and vanished from the settlement of Tarrytown. From this town in the mists, Emanuel directs troubled people to his town in the mists with the help of guides.
While the guides lay the groundwork for this novel and do appear within it, they truly do not have a major role. The main characters in this book are three troubled people, two men and a woman. One of the men, Alvin, has been in the town for a while. He is the Traveler, Renaissance's connection to the world beyond the town and the messenger between Emanuel and the guides. The other two are from the outside world. The woman, Carrie, is introduced covered in blood and remembering nothing. The man, Frank, is a pediatric cardiac surgeon. He has been told about the special properties that his friend, Steve who is a pediatric oncologist, found. While Frank is not sure that this visit will do him any good, he's willing to try anything to have a peace of mind.
Troubled souls are matched up with someone who will help them resolve their issues. Frank is assigned to Alvin who will need to work through his own problems before he can really help Frank. Carrie is assigned to Clara, the town's weaver. Reader's follow as these troubled people work through their problems and begin to look at things a bit differently.
With this groundwork, I was looking forward to some really good reading. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
It took me a while to figure out why this book just didn't really keep my interest. The writing is stark. That is, while you get some description and insight, it is minimal and not enough to truly give you a feel of the character or the scene. At one point, you are given that Carrie thinks a waitress in a diner resembles Clara but no reason as to why except that the coffee tastes like Clara's coffee. I was left wondering, was this waitress the same height, size, shape, coloring or what was so similar to Clara. Some how I can't see a waitress that is 200 pounds and 5 foot tall resembling Clara if Clara is 5 foot 8 weighing 120 regardless of the coffee. The problem is, you don't know what either looks like, as the only description you have of Clara is she has white hair and is older and the waitress is wearing a uniform with the nametag of Millie! While I don't like descriptions that give you every minute detail, I do appreciate enough detail so I can visualize the characters and the places.
I guess that because this book is being marketed as a romance novel the author thought she needed to include some sex scenes. I found them annoying and not well written. They didn't add anything to the story and it was easier to ignore them than it was to read them. While you were able to grasp that the characters were heading towards a permanent relationship, the sex did not come across as a love scene. Again, the writing was a bit stark and these scenes felt a bit wooden or stiff.
Like many other books that are being currently published, this one has a social message. Readers are exposed to the realities of domestic violence. This is a tough issue to deal with and placing it in a fantasy romance novel is really tough. Ms Sinclair does it well and readers get a good idea of some of the problems with domestic violence. However, in some places it seems to be a bit preachy as if Ms Sinclair is on her soapbox demanding that we listen to her.
Another reoccurring theme in this book is that you need to forgive yourself and trust that there is a reason for things to happen. Again, Ms Sinclair does this well by showing that there isn't just one way to look at a problem or issue but by looking at it several different ways, you may see a reason for it happening or you may find that you just have to have faith that there is a reason. Faith and trust seem to be a mantra that all of the characters use at some point.
While I truly want to believe in this story, I had a great deal of problems with the time sequence. Each time a character left the mists, time had stood still back in the outer world. So, even though one character left the mists before another, when the second one left, time reverted back to when they had first entered the mists? What happened to the two weeks or so that the first character had in the outer world when they returned? It didn't work for me.
Overall, it was an okay book. It wasn't great but it wasn't horrible. I enjoyed seeing Carrie begin to get her memories back and learn about herself. Alvin trying to figure out how to help Frank when he couldn't even help himself was interesting. While the characters don't seem to be fully developed, they are likeable.
This book epinion was made possible by NOR (Night Owl Romance) and the great publishers/editors/authors that support it. [...]