“In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space.
Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops.
Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile.
Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.” Amazon
Many YA books today feel as if they are more adult, this one is definitely more in the young adult category, mainly in regards to the sweetness of the main characters relationship. Theirs is one of love and bonding, not lust and partying. Laffoon does a wonderful job with the development of the characters, and has some very touching dialogue to go along with them.
While it is categorized as mystery, I would say it’s more fantasy, but Laffoon does go lightly with the magic. There is also some folklore and more religious aspects to the novel as well. I could see the parts that do have religious undertones not sitting well with some people, but it all depends on the reader.
I did enjoy this story, but I do think there are some areas that could use some editing, mainly to tighten up the story a bit, and flesh out some other parts. Laffoon did try switching points of view between the characters, and I felt it was a little jarring. All in all though, a very good debut novel.
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