Thursday, December 23, 2010

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

I finally got my hands on a copy of Angie Frazier's book, Everlasting. You know that old saying, "better late than never"? Well, to follow it with another cliché, truer words were never spoken: Though I'd have liked this book when it first came out six months ago, back then I was finishing the Jane project (and therefore not really reading). And just after that I embarked on the six-week composition frenzy that was the Shakespeare poems. (Note to Santa: Please send me an agent, Santa? I've been a very good girl this year. For me. I know that's relative, but still. Aaaand . . . I digress.) What I'm getting at is that I'm glad I got to read this book even though it's now and not then.

Angie Frazier () did such a great job creating the world that her characters inhabit that it was easy for me to imagine the dirt and the stench of some of the places her characters inhabited. It was also - and unfortunately - all too easy for me to imagine the bit of woods later in the book with ginormous black widow spiders in it for which I will get even with Angie if it is the last thing I do. She did such a great job writing her characters that I forgot that I don't really care for the names Camille, Oscar or Ira. I don't really care for the name Randall, either, but as his character was left in San Francisco early on in the book and it was clear to me (and Oscar, but not Camille) that Oscar was the proper hero for whom to root, I didn't worry about wanting to like Randall. But I did worry about wanting to like Oscar despite his name, and by midway through the book I found myself thinking that Oscar's not all that bad a name really and I was almost ready to declare it a perfectly dishy name by the end of the book, but I am not quite addlepated enough to do so. Oscar was a perfectly dishy character, however, so all was well.

The book starts out as simple historical fiction - Camille is engaged to Randall, and sets to sea with her father for one last jaunt before her marriage. Oscar is the first mate on the ship, and he and Camille have an obvious bond, but he lacks sufficient status and means to be considered a worthy beau for the daughter of a prosperous businessman (her father is not just a sea captain, but also owns his own shipping company). This being 1855, I figure our plot is essentially the same as the one Leo and Kate had in Titanic.

But wait! Just off the coast of Australia, things get way hinky when Camille finds a letter in her father's cabin and learns that her mother - who she was told died giving birth to her - is (probably) still alive (although dying of consumption) in Australia. She doesn't reach the end of the letter, but before she's interrupted, she reads about a map to a fabled magical relic, and next thing you know, we're in a historical fantasy (albeit set in the real world of 1855). And what a historical fantasy it is - no preternatural creatures, exactly, just some truly old magic at work.

One of the things I appreciate about the story is Angie's willingness to put her main character(s) through hell. I'm sure the impulse was there to let someone else sustain the horrible injuries and go through the many difficulties and torments between the beginning and end of the book, but Angie did not flinch - and truly, neither did her characters, which is one of the things that made me so willing to like them. So much so that, as I already said, I almost got over their names.*


*I realize the name aversion is just me, by the way. There is nothing wrong or improper about any of the choices - some of them just aren't names I care for. Others - like William and Samuel - were just dandy as far as I was concerned. And it didn't stop me from liking the book.


Kiva - loans that change lives

No comments: