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Maelstrom Kindle Edition
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The story about how Maelstrom was written is a story in itself which the author tells us about at the end of the book. Briefly, Ms. Guenette’s mother had worked on Maelstrom for most of her life. When she passed away she left a 2,000 page manuscript and notes that mysteriously vanished. Many years later they were discovered, even though the first thirty pages were missing. Ms. Guenette must have thought what a waste it would be, if this novel never saw the light of day. She was right.
Ms. Guenette added and deleted sections and of course had to rewrite the first thirty pages. When she had finished the collaborative novel was 479 pages.
It is a magnificent story told by two highly skilled wordsmiths, and under normal circumstances, I would’ve finished it in two nights. Unfortunately, I was working long hours and it wasn’t possible. As it turned out, it took a little over two weeks and this highlighted the novel’s only shortcoming. I thought there were too many characters, and I found myself using the search function of my Kindle to reacquaint myself with some of them. There is an art in character development and recognition that John Grisham has perfected. I can’t remember reading a Grisham novel where I was forced to backtrack because I couldn’t recall a character. In fairness to Ms. Guenette, I probably would not have had a problem had I finished it in two nights.
In summary, Maelstrom is a captivating story told by two superbly talented authors, and is a must read. My only criticism is the number of characters and my difficulty in remembering some of them. I’m a hard marker and I’ve deducted one star for this. If it was possible it would’ve been 4 ½ stars.
Also, the creation of this work of fiction created a maelstrom of emotions in its producer and writer, who took the draft of a manuscript began by her mother, June Guenette, many years ago. After June's death in 1997, the manuscript went to Francis' son and was seemingly lost until a few years ago. Francis took the original seed of an idea and turned it into the page-turning, twisted story of a fictional town in the rugged western regions of the North American continent. But as she took typewritten white placemat pages and turned them into a manuscript, the author suggests she went through her own maelstrom to bring the novel to publication.
If you've read any of the books in the Crater Lake Series by Francis Guenette, be prepared to be as shocked as I was. There are very few likable characters, until perhaps the end. And any compassion felt for some of the younger ones is born of pity and not true empathy. Never will you meet such evil, narcissist folks as the ones who roam and rule the streets of Haddon. I don't usually read books filled with such horribly violent scenes, such as populated the pages of this novel, but because the author created a compelling story, I found myself guiltily escaping back to my Kindle to find out if and when the worst of the worst would get their due.
Ms. Guenette once again proves her prowess as a gifted storyteller with her descriptive setting of the isolated town and its towering castle on the hill, Casa Destino. Long-held resentments and prejudices dominate the action of the novel. The two main antagonists, Sheriff Calder and Mayor Thatcher, dominate the scenes. The man set to inherit Casa Destino after the death of his adopted father, Myhetta, appears to be unfeeling and unemotional through much of the story. But eventually, some redeeming qualities do appear toward the end. But he has been so damaged, as has everyone around him, that it's unclear what fate holds for him. Never have I read a novel filled with so much human depravity. I feel as if I need a very hot shower to wash it all away.
As with the previous review, this novel explores the dangers of bigotry and genetics. It's a lesson in how not to live life. One relationship stands out as one with some virtue, and that's the one between Myhetta and his best friend, Laird. Loyalty above all else withstands all the tests. And the love of a mother for her child shines through in both Myhetta's mother, Ayha, and Laura Thatcher for the son she adopted when she married the mayor.
Myetta and Laura emerge as the main characters, eventually. They change the most during the course of the novel, and for once, it's in positive ways.
Fast-paced and riveting, this novel requires a score card. The characters are many and their intertwined lives require the reader to always pay attention or be lost in the maelstrom.
Settle in for a fabulous read and let go of any preconceived ideas about the residents of Casa Destino and the small town nestled in the valley below it. Your expectations will be wrong yet exceeded in the most unexpected and inspiring ways!! This author knows how to take you for a ride you won't soon forget!
You will fall in love with some characters and learn to hate others and it will happen quickly for the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, are clearly defined leaving no grey area for your emotions to hide!
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Author: Francis Guenette
Star Rating: 4 Stars...Read more