Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Magical Realism
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words
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Lynne Cantwell is a contributing author at Indies Unlimited where she shares her knowledge about Indie publishing and promotion. She has a master’s degree in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins University and is a former broadcast journalist who has written for CNN and Mutual/NBC Radio News, among other places. Ms. Cantwell currently lives near Washington, DC.
Ms. Cantwell is the author of The Pipe Woman Chronicles, which includes five books, The Land, Sea, Sky series, which includes three books, and other works of fiction and non-fiction alike.
“Julia Morton Michaud has fled Chicago for her grandparents’ summer home in Michiana. She believes the cottage near Lake Michigan will be a refuge – a quiet place for her to pursue a writing career while her spirit heals from a string of failed relationships. But her past keeps intruding. Her ex-husband, Lance, is under investigation for defrauding his wealthy investors, and the specter of having to testify at his trial hangs over her. She begins a new relationship with a man she hardly knows. And her neighbor and former lover, David Turner, is trapped in his own troubled marriage.
Julia discovers a labyrinth in the woods near her cottage. It belongs to Elsie and Thea, the elderly ladies who live at the end of the lane. Julia wants to use it for meditation, but she doesn’t know the risks. For the women have their own agenda, and it’s tied to the rug Elsie is endlessly weaving. The truths Julia learns in the labyrinth have the potential to change all their lives – if only she will take them to heart.”
I generally lean away from Women’s Fiction stories, they tend to be a little too wordy for their own good. However, I have read most of Ms. Cantwell’s fantasy novels and she quickly became one of my favorite authors. I love the way she captures the spirit of those she writes about in her books. So I decided to read Seasons of the Fool despite the genre listing.
Julia is in the middle of a crisis and searching for answers to why she always seems to choose the wrong men to love. She decides to move back into her grandparent’s summer cottage near Lake Michigan, which she now owns, to find peace and heal her soul. The elderly ladies who live down the lane feel a little responsible for her situation and are determined to set things right. This story weaves Magical Realism into Julia’s dilemmas’, was it fate or freewill that lead to her choices in life?
What I loved most about this story was the fact that Julia wants to become a writer. Ms. Cantwell exposed her own writer’s soul developing Julia, it all felt very personal and rang true. The way the subplots were woven into the overall arc of the story was handled expertly and never lagged. David’s journey was more heart-wrenching but equally as complex as Julia’s journey. The philosophical aspects and the turning of the seasons as the story moves forward all hold spiritual significance as the story unfolds. I think this is a story you could re-read and see different lessons each time depending on where you are in your own life’s journey.
I enjoyed my time in Michiana, perhaps Ms. Cantwell will take us back there some day for more journeys through the labyrinth. My mind spins with a few possibilities. :)
I read an Advanced Readers Copy but came across no significant editing issues.
Rating: ***** Five stars