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The Clay Remembers: Book 1 in The Clay Series Kindle Edition
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The setting is in and around Tucson, AZ in the 1980’s. Having lived in Tucson during the time frame of this story I found the author has an excellent understanding of the geography and culture of the area. Her descriptions are detailed enough that I could picture the scenery yet those descriptions were not too lengthy.
The main characters are archaeologists and the author did an excellent job of describing archaeological dig techniques. Archaeology tries to be understand the ancient peoples who occupied the area; in this case the Hohokam natives of the Tucson basin. Though given a fictional name the site dig site in the book is much like the one in the Santa Catalina State Park. Woven into the story the mystical elements of Native American folklore develop the main characters and draw the reader into the stories of the modern, 19th century historical, and ancient Hohokam characters. There is smooth flow of the integrated story lines of each era.
This was an enjoyable read; historically, geographically, and culturally accurate. The well developed characters and plot were altogether believable and engaging. I believe this story is not for younger readers as there is a minor sexual encounter and several abusive scenes that I feel is not appropriate for readers under eighteen. I may be a bit old fashioned in that respect, so I would recommend parents read it first to determine if they would let younger teens read the book.
The Clay Remembers is one of the rare exceptions to my preference not to read fiction. I first came across an excerpt of Sharon's book on Scribophile, a writer's group. At first glance, I did not realize the story was fiction, and, believing it to be a true story, I gave it a chance. I was instantly intrigued by Anna’s story and eagerly awaited for Sharon to finish The Clay Remembers so I could read more about Anna.
Everything about Anna is real to me: her insights, her warmth and strength. I love the female characters and how they bond and support each other. The descriptions of Anna’s archaeological site are so vivid and amazing that I want to visit Arizona to see for myself. I enjoyed the spiritual connections described in the book because I have had experiences similar to Anna's. I am proud of Anna during a scene at her apartment. Without giving anything away, let me just say that her strength gives me hope and so much respect for her. Anna is an inspiration to me.
I do wish that I had realized before reading the book that there is a glossary in the back. I think I would have enjoyed the parts about archaeology and history more if I had read the glossary first. The Clay Remembers is the first novel in The Clay Series, which features three women over an 800-year period. I look forward to reading all the books in the series with the hope that I will fall in love with other women as much as I love Anna.
The treasures Anna lights upon are no fabulous devices, nor is she a mere ‘psychic’ archaeologist. Her empathy, her bond with our forebears, is a gripping metaphor for the need of women down the years for recognition of their joy, skill and creativity, which enrich the lives of all. Sharon K. Miller shows how pressing that need can be, ranging against Anna a belittling archaeologist husband whose family is incapable of seeing beneath the surface, and whose greatest talent, ironically, consists of burying secrets. That’s but one of the subtle oppositions that set this novel apart, like the skyward reach of the Robinsons, living well above ground on the fourth floor of their property, or Foster’s inability to appreciate the simple and natural (such as Anna’s need for a child) in telling contrast with Nick Anderson - with whom Anna falls in love - and his easy connection with a world of real things about him: soil, animals, a woman who knows who she is, the birth of new life.
'The Clay Remembers' honors that continuity - the positive, the intimate, the beautiful and sustaining. The voices of the past, caught with deftness and sensitivity, guide Anna in her quest to restore balance to the present - to find her place in a tradition she can see and hear, and happiness with a man whose past is as haunted as her own. Alive with the light, scent and grit of the desert, this first volume compels from the outset. Its successors promise to uncover more of time, craft and enduring love.