- Author: Francis Guenette
- Published: May 2015 by Huckleberry Haven Publishing
- Category: Contemporary Fiction
Long-time resident, Izzy Montgomery juggles the stress of a new job with her burgeoning home life. Family dynamics go into overdrive when Alexander and Cynthia launch plans to build a home nearby and Liam’s sister, Fiona shows up to do an internship with the local doctor. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and sparks fly. While crusty, old Reg keeps sawmill production booming, Beulah runs the organic bakery and plans the First Annual Caleb Jenkins Memorial Ball Tournament. Bethany discovers her own hidden talents working with young people at Micah Camp.
As a nine-year-old’s dreams reflect a dangerous reality, many encounter issues from the past.
Izzy’s working life has changed and, she feels, not always for the better. She has taken over the job of Director at Micah Camp after Roland, the previous director, and his new love Jillian decided to go travelling, and is finding it quite stressful. She’s dealing with the repercussions of a large one-off donation to the Camp, the allocation of which includes expansion plans and all that entails. An accident in the kitchen means looking for a new Cook, coupled with the arrival of the incoming residents and the new trauma counsellor who is taking over Izzy’s old job, make her seriously doubt the wisdom of taking on her new position.
Liam meanwhile is taking care of the domestic side, staying at home to look after Sophie, home school Robbie and plan for his and Izzy’s wedding. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and Bethany finds her place as Researcher at the Camp. Beulah is stirring up memories Izzy is finding difficulty in coming to terms with, when she proposes the First Annual Caleb Jenkins Memorial Ball Tournament. Alex and Cynthia and Alex’s daughter, Fiona, add to Izzy’s ever growing family and bring more First Nation people into the story.
I wondered at the relevance of the magnificent cougar pictured on the cover. He begins the story and is a recurring theme throughout, intermingled with Robbie’s disturbing dreams, which brings in a kind of mystical connection with a boy who already has visionary qualities.
The man hurried around to the driver’s door. The cage’s locking mechanism had been designed carefully for this moment. Crawling between the front seats, he hoisted his body over the top of the plywood cage. The animal beneath him twisted and turned and slammed its huge paws against the wood. He fit the key into the lock, clicked it open and slid it out of the two metal clasps. The animal knew what that sound meant and hurled its one hundred and fifty pounds out into the freedom of the night.
A wonderfully written story, again set against the beautiful Crater Lake backdrop with a cast of characters old, who are a pleasure to meet again, and new to add to the mix. Although the setting is perfect and appears peaceful, life for the residents is not always so. Emotional issues and baggage from the past must be worked through and dealt with, including love and loss for some.
I love this series…the characters, the dynamics of their sometimes complex relationships, the kinship and how their lives intertwine. The beautifully vivid setting, described so well. And the quality of the writing which just flows easily and skilfully through a compelling narrative.
About the author
Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and dog and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden on the Northern end of Vancouver Island. She lives in an off-the-grid home that employs a combination of micro-hydro and solar power.
Between May and September, Billy Bob the Bear drops over to graze and eat huckleberries and salal. Now and then cougar tracks are spotted meandering across the property. Life is good in the hinterlands, but Francis warns – you have to keep your eyes open and know where you are.
Francis has a daughter and a son – both happily married and pursuing interesting careers. She also has two beautiful and wildly funny granddaughters who provide her with inspiration for writing and living.
For most of her working life, Francis has been an educator. She has worked with special needs children and youth and taught at the undergrad level at the University of Victoria. She has a graduate degree in counselling psychology and very nearly completed her PhD. There was that pesky matter of the doctoral dissertation, but enough said on that score! She has worked as a trauma counsellor, a researcher, and a graduate student supervisor.
During her academic life Francis published (on her own and with others) several articles that were accepted to peer-reviewed journals as well as contributing to chapters in two published books.
Visit her WordPress blog http://disappearinginplainsight.com to learn all you would ever want to know about Francis and her writing life. There you can like her on Facebook. You are also invited to follow Francis on Twitter @FrancisGuenette