Where Honesty Never Ends.
Shadow Sanctuary by Inge H. Borg
Blurb: Attractive and successful, Monika Lenz has had it. With the city. With her job. And with men. A year alone in a Sierra Nevada mountain cabin should bring the fifty-year-old back on track. There will be beauty, and there will be peace and quiet. But there are also shadows that invade her sanctuary. Foreboding and relentless, they grasp at her and lure her soul deeper into its recesses. Will the elusive Jack MacGreedy pull her back from the abyss she has created in her mind, and in her heart?
I’m beautiful, talented, and strong;
so tired of being done wrong!
Maybe I just have to get away.
I have to take charge of my life today
to get back to some level of okay.
© Queen of Spades
Disclaimer: Baby spoiler.
A baby freestyle I came up with on the way in, but it fits the ambiance of how this story begins.
Monika Lenz has been a loser in the game of companionship and love one too many times. California holds too many negative memories for her, and she is tired of the cat fights over the crumbs of promotion and status. Although it may seem dramatic to her best friend, Laura, for Monika, the dramatic may be the best thing for her, since her normal blueprint isn’t working.
Besides the description of the perfect nails, manicured nails, and outfits that match, I kept yearning for a real physical connection in relation to Monika’s attractiveness that kept being mentioned throughout the story. Did she have captivating eyes? Did she keep her figure looking well? Could you look at her and not be able to tell she was in her fifties? How would I be able to know if she had the ambiance of Angela Bassett like in “Stella Got Her Groove Back?” Nothing really said that to me.
The mountain cabin and the people surrounding the setting put me in the frame of Stephen King’s Secret Window. The main character, writer Mort Rainey, is getting away for some peace and quiet. His tragedy was trying to write this story “Secret Window” while dealing with a nasty divorce as well as dealing with some demons of his own. This sparked into my mind due to the isolation and the initial friendliness of the townspeople and the local ranger.
Once Monika arrives at the cabin, the peace and quiet of the surroundings doesn’t seem to be enough to quell the loneliness. Instead, being idle gives her too much time to reflect on the misadventures in love that have befallen her with only her feline companion to soften the blow. All of this is somewhat manageable until tragedy strikes her feline; she sinks into an emotional stupor that is only numbed with her increased consumption of alcohol.
The insertion of this element in the story causes the reader to take a closer look at Monika and her behavior. The initial meeting that she had with Jack; did it actually happen or was it a crack in the foundation of the actual and the beginning of building her own world? Did the forces which put her in battle with Mother Nature on more than one occasion have validity?
This has the components of a good psychological ride, but there are some factors that can make it increasingly smoother.
One is the pacing of the story, which started very smooth at first, then it seemed to stall a bit towards the middle, as if the writer was battling which direction to go in the story, followed by it speeding up towards the end. The part where the wild animal was personified seemed awkward; did it serve more to shift or just thrown in to personify Monika’s unhinging. I found myself not being quite certain.
In addition, I yearned for more connectivity involving some of the major as well as supporting players in the story.
Prime example: the ultimate importance of Jack MacGreedy. He was mentioned as if he proved to be a pivotal role in the story. Yes, he served as Monika’s fantasy guy, but I expected more instances of him in his potential role as the hero from her suffering. RJ the ranger was mentioned more extensively, as if he were the savior as opposed to Jack, yet there was an aura of distrust from the other characters (Laura and Joe) that didn’t really get full spotlight.
The resolution, although holding true to the lingering effect of Monika’s altered state, did little to answer the question in the blurb: Will the elusive Jack MacGreedy pull her back from the abyss she has created in her mind, and in her heart?
The answer: One still doesn’t know but we hope for the best.
Thank you for stopping by The Review Board. Appreciative of all likes, shares, and subscribes. And if you want to reply, don’t be shy.