Friday, September 22, 2006
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
This is a magical book. Although it is not strictly a romance, it is a love story.
Julia is a psychiatrist who has had a young patient kill some schoolmates and she has been publicly castigated for not anticipating the disastrous event. Where she used to be admired and respected, now she has lost all her clients. It is at this low point in her life that a child shows up in her hometown who has no social skills and was apparently living wild in the forest before she was found. Julia’s sister, Ellie, just happens to be the chief of police so she calls her sister for help. Julia has nowhere else to go so she returns to the small town where she grew up as an awkward albeit brilliant child (as opposed to her sister who was popular).
The wild child, eventually named Alice, proves to be a MAJOR challenge. She not only has no social skills but, apparently, also no verbal ones and there is evidence that she has been physically abused. Much of the story is about Julia and Alice – their growing relationship.
But Ellie also has her own story and troubles. While Julia is dealing with Alice in a personal way, Ellie is trying to find her parents. She is also struggling with having been divorced twice and still never having found true love.
Julia and Ellie have preconceived notions about men – and what type of man is right for them. And they have quite a few issues to deal with between each other as well.
The small town atmosphere is lovingly portrayed. There are the eccentric old ladies, the café where everyone goes, the gossip that everyone knows and the speed with which it travels. It’s important to little Alice’s well being.
I noticed as I was writing this that the word I wanted to use most often was struggle. Alice is struggling to adjust and learn in the new environment, Julia is struggling with almost overwhelming insecurity, Ellie is struggling with her need for a man but her inability to connect with a good one. The men around them are struggling with their own issues, too. As I read The Magic Hour, I struggled with each of them. The characters are beautifully drawn, three dimensional, flawed human beings. I loved them all.
I highly recommend this book.