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The Soul Retrieval: A Novel Paperback – March 23, 2015
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"The author has a gift for crafting striking images: "His silhouette against the bright morning light was a man-shaped eclipse, his muscled edges luminous and blurred by the smoldering tobacco" ... "Cotton grew so abundant and white it looked like the angels had sprinkled powdered sugar on fields of small green plants."
Jarvie also strikes an impressive balance with the dialogue ... The overall result is a satisfyingly realistic, pleasurable read ... consistently evocative ... (with) sharp characterization, and haunting, gorgeous imagery."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Riveting ... The Soul Retrieval will take readers on a journey filled with mystery, suspense, love and hope ...The book tells two stories, one of the past and one of the present ... When the two stories collide in the present, the reader is placed on a roller coaster of emotions."
- Pacific Book Review
"A masterpiece ... I look forward to much more from Ann W. Jarvie."
- Paranormal Romance & Authors That Rock
"An amazing book! This author will make you escape right into the story and characters before you even realize you're there! Easy to follow and hard to put down once you start! While reading you will find yourself searching within yourself as well..."
- Undercover Book Reviews
"Enticingly written, Jarvie creates a plot designed with several 'shock and awe' moments ... But most of all, it portrays the boldness within to seek inspiration and truth."
- C. Rodriguez of Readers' Favorite
"The writing is top notch with some charm thrown in. One of my favorite phrases was 'His smile was as sweet as melted milk chocolate...'"
- Lilac Reviews
About the Author
Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and more than twenty-five years' experience as an award-winning writer in advertising and public relations agencies, both in South Carolina and Chicago. She now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends part of her time as a freelance copywriter and the rest writing fiction.
The Soul Retrieval was inspired by Jarvie's maternal grandmother's fascinating life on Native American reservations, where she lived with her physician husband until his mysterious and untimely death.
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The plot and character development in The Soul Retrieval are well thought out. The dialogue is easy to follow. Henrietta Clayborn, the wife of Dr. Jeff Clayborn, both a medical researcher and physician, moves between her home on a peach plantation in South Carolina and an Indian Reservation in New Mexico. I was captivated by the imagery of both places, though I knew little of either place before. It was the secrets, mysterious healing and characters that captivated and entertained me throughout the story. The Soul Retrieval is filled with charm and a theme of hopefulness. It is a story of love, loss and healing. The characters are likable, sometimes funny and even a bit crazy.
The novel has the potential to succeed even as a film. The book was beautifully written and introduced many different subjects for discussion. I have a feeling that this inspiring story will be in my thoughts for a long time. The Soul Retrieval is a great book and I strongly recommend it.
The opening chapters show Henrietta, an uptight, young southern woman in unfamiliar territory. She and her family are living in the doctor’s cottage of New Mexico’s Medichero Indian Reservation in 1959. We soon learn why she’s so on edge. She’s hiding an awful secret from everyone, including her beloved husband Jeff, who is a physician working in the hospital on the reservation. She feels tormented because her secret threatens to destroy everything she loves and cares about.
She then meets Joe Loco, a quirky and gifted medicine man with an Elvis fetish, who immediately sees that Henrietta’s “soul has fragmented,” and he wants to help her heal. She’s initially skeptical, but is amused and oddly comforted by him and his intuitive insights. Henrietta starts to confide in him and eventually opens herself up to exploring what is forbidden in her southern Christian world.
The author pulls us into the story by giving Henrietta and Joe, like all the characters in the novel, a rich complexity. We are pulled in further, because like Henrietta, we want to understand the mysteries of wounded souls. We start to believe that healing from trauma just may be possible. And we start rooting for her to push through her fears.
To avoid spoiling the climatic ending, I’ll just say this: it’s intense and satisfying. I loved how the author allowed me to think I knew what was coming, but I was so wrong.
I was impressed with the amount of research that had to go into making this story believable. I’ve not spent any time on New Mexico Indian reservations or South Carolina peach plantations, but Jarvie portrays these two different worlds so vividly, I accepted everything she wrote as fact. I have to assume she took some creative license, especially since the towns of Medichero and Greenfield are fictional, but I’d have a hard time identifying where.
I think all of the characters would work beautifully on the big screen. As I was reading, I was actually visualizing the story as a movie. But really, it was the novel’s thought-provoking spiritual insights coupled with well-written suspense that will be with me and my dreams for a long, long time.
As I read Soul Retrieval, I couldn’t help but visualize the multi-dimensional characters Henrietta, Jeff, her husband, who is a physician on the reservation and Joe Loco, who is a strange medicine man, who has a fetish for Elvis and who is quite knowledgeable about western medicine, and his wife, Altie. Joe Loco tells Henrietta that her soul is fragmented and that she needs to undergo soul retrieval because he sensed there has been some damage to her soul. However, Henrietta is a little skeptical. Along the retrieval journey the story unfold unpredictably, which drives you to keep turning the page to see what happens next. The end is not what I expected, which is unique for me because it doesn’t matter how many twist and turns a book has, I always tend to decipher the ending.
This novel made me think of many of us in the world. Some more than others are in need of our own soul retrieval. If only we could find our Joe Loco. Perhaps as individuals we can serve as our own Joe Loco. Joe Loco said it best when he quotes Shakespeare, “Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie.” The novel, Soul Retrieval served as the remedy for my need for literary stimulation amid my hectic routine.
Ann W. Jarvie is a writer to watch. I truly look forward to reading more novels from her.