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Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue
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Here's a sample of her vivid imagery, from her recent novel Roanoke: "The precious cleanness of the beach is real, but it seems to have been created, at most, a few hours before. No stinking fish guts and no rusty anchor chains. Only the bitter-sour-sweet of sea salt, with a strange edge of ripening fruit from somewhere in the dark, mysterious ocean of trees to the west. Only the colors that paint the air and wash the flat beach, blending sea, land and sky. Apricot, rose, pale amethyst, topaz, silver. And gold."
Another phrase that made me sit up: "Time drips like Spanish moss from the swamp oaks."
Many people hate books like Roanoke, with its multiple POV's, jumps from past to present to future tense, and the blending of real people with fictional characters. I know how I would have fallen short in that descriptive passage, using "forest" instead of "ocean of trees," "scent" instead of "strange edge of ripening fruit" and I would have never thought to write "precious cleanness" or "paint the air and wash the flat beach" either. You have to read the book to catch the theme in the list of colors. The last one is key, and she rightly sets it apart: "And gold."
AMAZING prose. Astonishing. Her sense of foreshadowing is also masterful.
These are the books you cannot put down. The surrounding world vanishes. Caught in the weaver's gossamer net, you beg not for release but for another gentle sting that lifts you into that dream realm.
I totally recommend this book for writers, historical readers, or any readers interested in the mystery surrounding the lost colony of Roanoke.
And the leading lady, she was really something. I appreciate a strong willed, ultra feminine character. I like that she was portrayed in so many roles: mother, leader, victim.
Yet, there was something missing in this book. There was something just not there. Maybe it was too long. The plot drug on, and the characters experienced so much pain and frustration.
Still, the ending was beautiful, lyrical even. The ending was something to write home about. That's why I've chosen to give this book a three rating. I wanted so badly to like it but just couldn't immerse myself in the story the way I'd have liked to.