Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Clearing by Heather Davis

Plot Summary: Amy is drawn to the misty, mysterious clearing behind her Aunt Mae's place because it looks like the perfect place to hide from life. A place to block out the pain of her last relationship, to avoid the kids in her new town, to stop dwelling on what her future holds after high school. Then, she meets a boy lurking in the mist--Henry. Henry is different from any other guy Amy has ever known. And after several meetings in the clearing, she's starting to fall for him. But Amy is stunned when she finds out just how different Henry really is. Because on his side of the clearing, it's still 1944. By some miracle, Henry and his family are stuck in the past, staving off the tragedy that will strike them in the future. Amy's crossing over to Henry's side brings him more happiness than he's ever known--but her presence also threatens to destroy his safe existence.

I'm not a huge fan of romance, but this story sounded so unique that I really wanted to give it a try. And I wasn't disappointed. The writing is good, the characters are sympathetic and real, and the premise is interesting. I was fascinated to watch Amy and Henry's relationship unfold, and the choices they made were strong and believable.

I thought the author did a fabulous job of creating two settings: one in today's world, and one in the 1940's.  The characters felt like they'd come from those eras, and the interaction between them was intriguing.  I can see teens of all ages enjoying this book. The language is clean and the few scenes with sex or drinking are PG.

There were a few things that I felt could have been explored more. I wish there had been more with Amy's former best friend, and I felt really bad for Jackson by the end of the book (which interfered with my sympathy for Amy and Henry), so I wish the author had done a bit more with him.

The only thing I really didn't like was the last page. I don’t want to completely give away the ending (even by giving a spoiler warning), so I can't make a direct comparison to another story. But the technique used on the last page has been done before, and it has never made any sense to me (logistically speaking). It conflicts with itself and feels like the author is trying too hard to create a happy ending. For me, it doesn’t work.

But hey, most time travel stories have issues.  So, if you can forgive those, then you will probably like this book. :)


Bish Denham said...

So maybe this won't be in the top 100 of my million book list....

Anonymous said...

The description reminds me of Light Beneath Ferns--have you read that?

C.R. Evers said...

Thnx for the rec. I may still check it out. I like time travel.

Mary Witzl said...

Your review has again piqued my interest. Time travel stories always intrigue me, but I think they have to be done very carefully, and the mechanism for getting protagonists from one time to another has to be perfect or the story falls flat. This one sounds like it doesn't fall short -- or maybe not until the ending. Now I'm dying to read the book to see if I agree with your assessment of the denouement.

You're really adding to my reading list -- I hope you know that! :o)