The writing is beautiful, but that is not sufficient to make this a novel. Despite the quality of the writing, or maybe because of it, the book left me flat. More like a trip to nowhere.
this book started out so strong that i thought this is a great book. but then the author got lost with too much detail,too much stuff,too many pages to complete this story.
Ah, now HERE is a novel to really sink your teeth into!
We meet our central characters in a flashback. Alma has taken her young nephew Loren to the planetarium. The show, A Trip To The Stars, is a birthday gift to this boy she is only now beginning to know. In the crowded rush to leave the planetarium, Loren is abducted. A frantic Alma spends a year searching for any trace of her missing charge before closing the book, so to speak, on her life as it was.
Alma is haunted for years to come with the fears regarding what might have befallen her young nephew. Only 20 herself, she had just recently inherited the awesome responsibility of being his guardian. The boy had originally been her nephew by adoption but Alma's sister and brother-in-law were subsequently killed in a car crash. Moving next to his Grandmother's, Loren was orphaned for the third time in his nine years when the Grandmother suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage.
Tragic as Loren's life seemed; his main kidnapper had only the best of intentions for the young boy. A long lost blood relative, Junius Samax begins to explain the complexities of Loren's original family--In brief, Loren is given the choice to return to his roots with his Uncle Junius. Affluent, to say the least, Loren was already aware of how the responsibility of keeping him was far beyond what his Aunt Alma might have expected for her life. Financially and otherwise, he believes that perhaps staying with these blood relatives will allow Alma to have a better life. With Junius' consent, he writes a letter to his Aunt explaining the situation--but the letter never reaches her.
Alma changes her name and embarks on a new life, ever hoping to outrun her haunting memories. A beautiful young woman, alone in the world, we follow her life for a period of about 15 years--through changes of jobs, distant locations, through a war, in and out of relationships and in relation to a cast of wildly colorful characters. She is a modern heroine, bravely plunging into the face of danger and forging a life for herself.
Interspersed with Alma's (now Mala) life are glimpses of Loren's story. His name too has been changed...to Enzo, the name on his birth certificate. Living with Julius in a hotel in Nevada, Enzo learns of his own family history and slowly begins to unravel the intricate workings of each person living in the hotel Canopus. His growth and curiosity lead him ever closer to the hidden story behind his being orphaned by his Mother at such a tender age.
This is something any fairy-tale loving child grows up hoping to be real--
Mala lost not only Loren, but another important man in her life...Cassiel. He was an injured pilot she treated during her stint as an Xray Technician on a navy ship. Though brief, their love affair was intense and otherworldly. The short period of pure joy that Alma remembers in her lifetime. And though he was not her only lover, he was indeed her 'One Great Love, The One She Never Forgot.' (Sounds sappy, I know--but just WAIT unttil you read this!) As with Loren, she knows nothing of his whereabouts, of what has become of him. Why did he leave? Might she ever see him again?
But there is so much more to unfold in the pages of this book. So many places to visit and experiences to share. Though it takes some time to get into, your time will be rewarded. Once author Nicholas Christopher furnishes us with the background, we spend the rest of the book avidly turning pages in the hopes that our characters might find each other again... that life might turn out, at least in this book, the way we'd always wanted. The way that it should.
This is a very well written book with a complicated plot and wonderful characters; my only reservation has to do with the aspect that it combines all with a little bit of 'fantasy' in it. This is about the third book I've read which does this, all of which were well written books--I'm just not sure that extra bit of fantasy in them is my cup of tea. I did enjoy reading this though and felt the author did a masterful job of pulling a complicated plot altogether.
Very rich and beautifully woven.