- File Size: 654 KB
- Print Length: 270 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: March 27, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JBNOIPU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,125 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$14.99|
Save $8.00 (53%)
Wellspring Kindle Edition
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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews
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I had a stroke last April 2014 and this book reproduced for me the sense of slight unreality that I have since felt. Just enough clues are offered but cut short to leave one still puzzling. Slowly throughout the novel the author, Barry Brennessel, adds just a bit more from the past and present, revealing information from Aidan’s life to fill in the cracks.
I hardly know where to start to praise this novel. It is remarkably suspenseful with the crumbling spa, guest cabins, a forgotten book with Aidan’s mother’s handwriting in it, the backdrop of German spies during the Kaiser’s reign, a mute boy, and a threatening presence in the person of a tall, strange man. There is not a moment that you are not on the edge of your seat waiting for just one more explanation.
If you don’t read this book you will miss out on one helluva great read with puzzles galore and a sweet slow romance in a picturesque New England setting. If I did stars, this book would get 6 out of 5.
As Aiden is hiking up the hill of the property in question, he sees a striking man in a blue coat when someone else suddenly starts shooting at Aiden. Not exactly an auspicious start to his travels and enquiries. It turns out that the man in the blue coat is Sebastian Desmond one of the family who owns the decaying Cebren Spa. In its prime it was promoted as a restorative retreat as the minerals in the water were said to aid wellbeing. The water smells like sulphur and it runs in tunnels under the Spa, the main house, and other houses scattered around the property. The man doing the shooting is Frederick Esson, a neighbour, who is a little eccentric, fought in WWI, is a tad gun happy, and protective of all the land around the Cebren Spa.
After the initial meeting, Sebastian takes Aiden in and offers him his hospitality, which in the Depression is much appreciated. Aiden is an artist and he loves the vistas from the property, the towers of the Spa. It appeals to his artistic eye. But there are strange occurrences on the property and Sebastian's grandfather is not exactly lucid a lot of the time. Artist or no, Aiden wants to know about Thad. However, Esson, and others who come on the scene, aren't too happy about Aiden being there. Unreasonably so. Why is that? Historically, people have made a habit of coming onto the property and stealing things, but Aiden has not proved to be a thief. There is a paranoia about it from Esson, Sebastian's grandfather and another person who has long been a part of the Spa, Gilbert MacGregor. Aiden asks about Thad, but no one claims to have seen him, and at times people seem deliberately vague or hostile about him asking. How could Thad be so accurate about everything on this property if he hasn't been there? And if there is one thing definite about Thad it's that he has always been a keen writer of letters.
The writing of Wellspring is beautiful and atmospheric - the snow, the storms, the sounds. The mood of America in regards to WWI, the sentiment was used well - it suited certain families and the plot perfectly. The feeling of the period that was the Great Depression was nicely written without being front and centre. It was more about the spa, the characters, the mood. The book is drawn out in places, characters are vague, but it is done quite deliberately. The primary time period focused on always has a pitch-perfect accuracy - behaviours, customs, events. The historical aspects were impeccable. The story also looks at family, one child preferred over the other, same-sex attraction in a different era, lasting love and six degrees of separation.
There are a number of characters integral to the book - Aiden, Sebastian, their respective family members, and a couple of people who live on the substantial grounds and surrounds of the Cebren Spa - notably the gun toting Frederick Essen and Gilbert MacGregor. Then there is another character, Stromberg. The relationship between Aiden and his lost brother was rather an interesting and somewhat complex character study for this reader. I liked the relationship between Aiden and Sebastian but it is not an 'MM romance.' Yet it is romantic.
I'll be honest, it took me a beat or two to get into the rhythm of Wellspring. Once I did, once I was comfortable, it was very much worth the build. In typical Barry Brennessel fashion, the writing is intelligent, elegant, poignant and empathetic. He writes (main) characters who are everyday people dealing with unforseen events and circumstances. They have an adventure one way or another, but they are not alpha heroes or larger than life, they're often quite gentle, introverted or conflict aversive. However, they always seem to experience something personal and profound. I admired Aiden's devotion to finding out about his older brother. I really liked a realisation that came out. I also enjoyed time spent with Aiden and Sebastian and how the book ends. Highly recommended for people who are looking for LGBT fiction with beautiful, layered writing, and something historical with a mystery.
"But it seems to me you've finally found your secret lair, one you feel comfortable in. One I think I keep interrupting."
My full reviews on books can be found at On Top Down Under Book Reviews