Review by Kate Farrell
Five women friends, who’ve known each other for a lifetime, are compelled to meet at an old childhood haunt, a beach house on Dillon Beach in Northern California. That this beach house belonged to the parents of a sixth friend who walked into the ocean on Prom night there sets the stage for an uneasy sense of place and time. They arrive to confront that tragic loss of thirty-five years ago, long unresolved, brought together as if by fate.
A sense of loss permeates the book—perhaps it is the onslaught of mid-life crisis as each woman faces her fifty-fifth year. The beach house gathering then becomes a forced vantage point to look back and evaluate each one’s life in a new way: The truth about many incidents are revealed. Each friend takes turns in questioning one another as the plot moves back and forth in time, from childhood, to adolescence, to young adult years, and to the uncertain present.
It is an ensemble production at its best. Witty dialogue is skillfully done, a tribute to Reid’s years in theater. One or the other of the five characters dominates at one time or another, yet not one seems to control the others. They perplex one another. A sense of mystery builds only to be complicated by the random and repeated appearances of fortune-telling runes, SOMETHING IN STONE, stimulating and frightening.
Through the alchemy of confinement in a fog bound beach house and the sheer force of hidden secrets, half known by some there, Reid brings the reader to a final revelation of the unimaginable. To me, the most powerful truth Reid portrays in these five (or six) women characters is the sustaining power of enduring friendship that enables acceptance, finding a peace that overcomes all loss.
Linda Loveland Reid is a member of San Francisco Chapter, WNBA, and will be reading at the Sonoma County Book Festival on September 21, 2013, from SOMETHING IN STONE. Click here for more information.