Commentary From the 2018 Writer's Digest Self Published Book Awards

Author has chosen well to write this book in the present tense, giving the reader a sense of the now that brings so many of the book’s settings and sensory details to life. We get a chilling wind, the dampness of the forest, the movement of water, and the author engages a tremendous sense of experience in the realm of the story. Author excels at gorgeous phrasing to elicit emotions throughout. When the strangers begin their walk together, they share ‘the parallel depths of their wounds.’ I would have loved some dialogue here to give these characters individual depth and differentiation, but the author moves the pace so naturally and so well that the lack of dialogue can be accepted as a narrative device. When the storm hits and she loses him, we’re given a resonant insight, that he never left her. We can hear the plaintive cry as she calls out to her soulmate, and the silence and futility deeply move us. We feel the loss, an emotion so beautifully created by the author in well-chosen structure and description. Very well done. Since her efforts to sing are so central to the story, consider adding the words of the song so that they may hit the same emotional depth for us. ‘The storm still seizes at her memory and thrashes at her heart’ is just on example of the beautiful phrasing the author uses so well to convey emotional turmoil. Nicely done. The beacon appearing at her time of mourning stands out in author’s fine structuring, and as her path progresses to the boat ride into the forest we sense her acceptance and willingness to move on towards an unknown of vast potential. A beautiful journey of the soul’s progression through love and loss, beautifully paced and very moving.

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