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The Empire Kindle Edition
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Darcy, a female spitfire, finds herself having strange dreams urging her to return to her hometown in Shoreton, Maine. The quaint costal town is all aflutter as young progressives try to push the town into the future while it's long-time residents resist and dig their heels in. At the middle of the argument, Darcy finds herself drawn to a theater at the center of town. As strange occurrences begin to break out around her, Darcy starts to feel as if someone, or something, is attempting to weigh in on the future of her beloved hometown.
C.L. Alden does a great job placing us in a very real situation facing small towns across America. We see the struggling between moving forward and maintaining our roots and she doesn't shy away from the discussion, both good and bad. Darcy's witty, sarcastic dialogue is paired perfectly with her complex point of view. While she might not live in Shoreton now, she finds herself invested because of her history woven so closely to its residents. As she meets other characters, especially "Fast Eddie," we see Alden utilize dialogue skillfully to not only build the characters but mix an outsider's perspective with the idea of a small town.
Being from a small town in Maine myself, Alden hits the nail on the head. She captures the dialect, the expected tropes of a small costal town, but she doesn't shy away from exploring them. As people gather for coffee, she uses the situation seen in many small Maine towns to build a complex story that gets at the hart of what Maine is about. Anybody who has lived in a small town and moved away will remember these intricate emotional states.
The best part of the book is the subtle nods to supernatural elements. While it does fall into the paranormal category, she uses it as a background for moving the story forward. Only time will tell if C.L. Alden will delve into the more supernatural aspects of Shoreton's residents and what the outcomes of The Empire will hold for the residents of this Maine town.