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|Print List Price:||£8.71|
Save £6.31 (72%)
Trails in the Sand (Florida Fiction Series) Kindle Edition
|Length: 364 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Yet, in the midst of all this familial turmoil, an element of redemption emerges: the love story between two kindred souls, started in childhood and finishing up in adulthood. A special bonding that transcends the tangle of family feuds and resentment and ultimately, helps to resolve some of their potent issues. Powerful, absorbing stuff, indeed!
Caroline, the central character, is an environmental writer, deeply concerned with the issues of the day and yet also embroiled with very personal family matters both past and present. As she becomes involved in the reporting of the BP oil spill in 2010 her family troubles mirror her work, threatening disaster on many levels. It is only with care, acceptance and understanding that true resolutions can be found.
Caroline's family are a true mix of characters, all with their own hang-ups, and there is not one but several skeletons lying in their collective closets! I felt sadness, anger and frustration for these flawed characters who muddled along with their stubbornness and unwillingness to communicate, blighting their own lives and those around them for a generation and more.
In amongst the personal saga the author also touches on the World Trade Centre attack, gently easing it into the narrative, not in the huge overview we all had as time provided the realisation of the enormity of it, but in the way we all, wherever we were in the world, first heard it, initially with confusion and fear of what was unfolding.
Finally there are the baby turtles, always at the heart of the story, and the extent that good humans will go to give them a fighting chance for life. I learned a lot!
The action takes place primarily from St. Augustine, Fl. to St. George Island, the 'trigger' on the Florida panhandle – familiar turf for me since I grew up there in the 50s and 60s, so I can attest to Ms. Zick's accuracy of setting, color, and feel for the area, even though the time frame is a little later. Her narrative brought many memories flooding back to me of this very unique part of America.
Caroline is a 40ish journalist/naturalist who has been assigned to cover the effect of the oil spill on area wildlife, in particular the loggerhead turtles on St. George, who months earlier emerged from the ocean, crawled across the sand to the same spot where they were hatched, then laid their eggs. While Caroline tries to rescue the turtles from the man-made sledge threatening to annihilate them, she seems powerless to escape from the familial sludge engulfing her.
This goes back to her Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde grandfather. To his patients he was a saint, to his family he was often a monster, especially to his daughter Gladdy, Caroline's abusive mother. And there was also no love lost between Caroline and her only sibling Amy, who was the apple of Gladdy's eye, even though she suffered from anorexia. In addition, Caroline was in love with Simon from the time she was a child, but Simon married Amy instead. Caroline finally got Simon, but by stepping across her sister's grave.
No spoilers here; this is just the beginning. It gets much more complicated with earth shattering revelations occurring right up to the last few pages. There's Caroline's rebellious niece Jodi, still in college, who despises Caroline for marrying her father before her mother is even cold in the ground. There's Holly, Caroline's best friend, who is a relationship therapist, but whose own love life is a disaster. There's the mysterious George (think Sam Elliot) who knew Gladdy's secrets from long ago. And BTW, who really burned down the family home? Then there's Simon, duller than Ashley Wilkes. Why has Caroline been obsessed with him her entire life? Lots of page-turning enigmas.
I was impressed by how Ms. Zick never portrayed Caroline in heroic terms, yet still managed to make her compelling and somebody we root for - again shades of Ms. Mitchell. Caroline is definitely a daughter of the New South; strong, resilient, independent, but she does have a heart, just not a confectionary one.
In lesser hands Trails In The Sand could have degenerated into a salacious, soap opera, but Ms. Zick never lets that happen. Instead, she challenges the reader to examine these very flawed characters in a way that says, how would YOU judge them? She doesn't make that judgement for us, and how the reader answers will reveal much about themselves. Ultimately, when all is said and done, like the turtles, all we leave behind is our trails in the sand. Highly recommended.
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