A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightful view into the human condition deepens her character's experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams' favourite tales, speak to the reader's heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.
“A delightfully rewarding novel illuminated by history.”
– Kirkus Reviews
In Williams’ paranormal novel, the spirits of a historic church inspire a young lawyer to accept the loss of her parents.
Twenty-six-year-old Seattle native Emily Reed is as guarded as she is intelligent. Her parents died in a car accident 10 years ago, but instead of grieving, she coped by excelling academically. After graduating from law school, Emily was recruited by a firm representing a church in a dispute regarding its landmark designation. Her first assignment is to organize the church’s archives, and she’s surprised to learn that the church is where her parents wed. Ryan, Emily’s boyfriend, joins her guardians in urging her to seek counseling and let herself grieve, but she refuses. At the church, Emily discovers diaries dating back to 1915 and becomes immersed in the life of Elizabet Thomas, a socialite and philanthropist. Unbeknownst to Emily, the spirits of Elizabet and her friend Dorothea, an eccentric madame, are watching her and even meddling in her life. Ever since the passing of Elizabet’s husband in 1922, she’s never stopped grieving—even in the afterlife. The novel is a well-crafted cautionary tale—against self-pity, in Elizabet’s case, and pride, in Emily’s. Williams achieves a striking narrative symmetry, not unlike the architecture of the church that she beautifully describes; each element of the sanctuary seems to have a story to tell: “The pipe organ stands proud and tall on the upper balcony, like a soldier standing at attention, waiting patiently for someone to spur it to life.” Some readers may object to the story’s ending, which is perhaps overly tidy and sentimental. That said, there’s much to celebrate in this book, including its memorable depiction of courage: “You must only be brave for one moment at a time.”
A delightfully rewarding novel illuminated by history.
Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2020
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Rippling Effects
Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021
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