- Author: Marcia Meara
- Published: September 2015 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
~ Traveling Man ~
Following on from Swamp Ghosts, this story brings to life the lives of Willow Greene, close friend of Maggie Devlin, now Maggie Wolfe, and Hunter Painter, best friend of Maggie’s husband, Gunn.
Ever since he could remember Hunter has felt different, separate from his peers. He’s quiet and introspective, enjoying reading and writing, not at all like his older brothers, Forrest and Jackson, who have always been outgoing, taking whatever life offers. Hunter’s sensitivity to people and his surroundings have impacted on his life and psyche steadily over the years.
Willow has been in love with Hunter ever since high school. When she has a surprise phone call from Hunter the day after Maggie and Gunn’s wedding party, she invites him over. Realising, after all these years, they feel the same for each other Willow and Hunter spend as much time together as possible. But Hunter believes happiness is not meant for him. His lot was to look out for his parents since his dad was turning a blind eye to a serious problem, which was obvious to Hunter. His overriding fear that he would take after his mother meant, to his mind, he could never have a lasting relationship.
Five days later he was sitting on the dock again, still astonished at how much his life had changed since that first awkward phone call to Willow. And yet, in his heart, he knew nothing had really changed at all.
Willow had faith in their future. He did not. Willow believed love would conquer all, but Hunter was pretty sure there were some things out there that would beat love to a bloody pulp, then bury it six feet under.
The relationship couldn’t last, yet even his certainty of that didn’t stop him from going to her every chance he got.
The insecurities and secret dread Hunter has lived with all his life prove too much for him to cope with as events spiral, his worst fears culminating in a terrible tragedy which shatters him and shocks everyone close to him. Hunter is lost in a desolation and pain so deep it overtakes him totally.
This story has a completely different atmosphere to Swamp Ghosts, in that it’s not as suspenseful or tense in a thriller kind of way. Rather, this focuses quite a bit on mental health issues and how, if left unrecognised, ignored or untreated, can cause untold damage. It’s also about the struggle to find a way back from hopelessness and despair. Willow and Hunter both have a battle on their hands.
In addition, the emphasis is also on relationships and family. And the power of love. Marcia Meara represents all of this extremely well from the perspective of the well defined and sympathetic characters. There’s an impressive depth and interpretation in the vivid portrayals which will stay with me for a while, I think.
The short passages at the start of the chapters are intriguing and add a sense of anticipation, wanting to know who the travelling man is and his role in the story. It makes sense when all is revealed, and it was a surprise.
About Marcia Meara
Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, living in the Orlando area with her husband of 29 years, two silly little dachshunds and four big, lazy cats. She’s fond of reading, gardening, hiking, canoeing, painting, and writing, not necessarily in that order. But her favorite thing in the world is spending time with her two grandchildren, ten-year-old Tabitha Faye, and two-year-old Kaelen Lake.
At age 69, Marcia wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel, and “Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love.” Her second novel, “Swamp Ghosts,” set alongside the wild and scenic rivers of central Florida, was released in spring of 2014. “A Boy Named Rabbit,” the sequel to “Wake-Robin Ridge,” was released in January, 2015. And “Finding Hunter,” the sequel to “Swamp Ghosts,” was released in early fall, 2015.
In the past year, Marcia has also had her poetry appear in five Silver Birch Press anthologies: “Silver,” “Green,” “Summer, and May,” all Eclectic Anthologies of Poetry and Prose, and “Noir Erasure Poetry Anthology,” which features a unique form of creating poems from prose.
Her philosophy? It’s never too late to follow your dream. Just take that first step, and never look back.