Reviewed by Piper Grey on August 26, 2009
I’m already a sucker for a good historical romance, but when you throw a little ‘supah-natural’ in the mix, I’m in Heaven! And that, my friends, is where Laura Whitcomb’s The Fetch enters my world. Her enlightened vision of the afterlife follows Calder, a Fetch, whose sole job is to comfort the dying and act as a guide to assist them through their death doors into Heaven. This book is beautifully written and weaves around the tragic story of the end of the Romanov Dynasty during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The mystery that is specifically addressed is, “What happened to the remains of the Tsar Nicholas’ two youngest children, Anastasia and Alexis (Alexei), after the entire family was massacred?”
The plot to this tale gradually reveals itself as the very lonely Calder breaks his sacred Fetch vows by becoming obsessed with a beautiful woman he finds at an infant’s (Alexis Romanov’s) death scene. In order to pursue this woman, Calder breaks into the human world by taking over the dying body of the Romanov family’s mystic healer, Grigori Rasputin. This transition leaves a massive rupture between the worlds that can only be mended by a missing key. Accompanied by the embodied spirits of Anastasia and Alexis, Calder embarks on a long, really long, long journey to find the key. Along the way, they are pursued by Rasputin’s spirit and a whole host of malicious lost souls. But still, the overall voyage tends to be, ah – what’s the word? Oh, yeah… “LONG!” Though, in the end, it proves completely necessary to allow for Calder’s own self-discovery.
Romance creeps slowly into the story-line between Calder and Anastasia. And I do mean ‘creeps’. When Calder dies, he is a 19 year old young man and that is how Anastasia sees him as well; even after he takes over Rasputin’s body. It really is hard to get past this fact when THE WORLD is witnessing a beat up 44 year old mystic falling for a 17 year old girl. Am I wrong here or is “Statutory Rape” not considered illegal in most, if not all, of the known free world? Call me closed-minded but I just couldn’t get past that detail, especially when Calder thought about kissing her or holding her hand. CREEPY!
This would be a great discussion book as it certainly gets readers thinking about Heaven, the afterlife, and the nature of “sin and forgiveness;” so I am giving it 4 outta 5 pumps. Although the plot gets slow at times, Whitcomb’s descriptions of an afterlife are exceptional and well thought-out while the characters are real, introspective, and full of life. Plus the ending will leave you hoping for a happily ever after for The Fetch. It’s come to pass that the remains of missing Romanov children were found in 2007 and DNA testing proved their identities but still … the mystery and speculation surrounding this tragic tale lends it the potential to be a story for the ages!
Reviewed by Sophie Rose on August 19, 2009
How do I begin to describe the whirlwind that is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife? This book knocked me off my feet and filled my heart with powerful emotions. Henry DeTamble is the time traveler in this book, however, his adventures are not by choice. Henry has a genetic disorder that instantly forces him to abandon the present and thrusts him into the unknown. During his travels, he cannot take anything material with him. Therefore, he is often naked which is quite the treat for us Vixens! Regardless of Henry’s unique existence, he remains very normal. And yet, what he wants more than anything is the one person he is always leaving; his wife, Clare.
Clare Abshire chronologically saunters through life like everyone else; everyone but Henry that is. She meets Henry when she is 6 years old while playing in the Meadow on her parent’s property. Henry is in his thirties and instantly finds himself conversing with this inquisitive child. No, he’s not some sick pedophile! Believe it or not, he’s actually only 8 years older than Clare! Using a journal filled with dates populated by Henry, Clare prepares herself for a life filled with Henry’s comings and goings. In an excerpt Clare says, “It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.”
The reader will quickly become engrossed in this book’s storyline. Each chapter outlines the dates and ages of the characters making it easy to catch on to the recurring theme. A detail that readers learn to appreciate is that Henry cannot alter the future with his presence. There is also a lot of foreshadowing in this book, so pay special attention to the particulars! Still, what I enjoyed most was the abiding love that radiated from the text. Henry and Clare’s relationship can only be described in one word: epic. Epic amidst all of the typical lifetime experiences such as: friendship, discovery, passion, and unrivaled intimacy. Although, I must say I am quite disappointed in Niffenegger’s uncanny ability to end a chapter just as the clothes were flying off! I’ve got two words for you: Twilight Sex. C’mon Audrey, that was not very Vixen-like of you!
Nevertheless, TTTW nurtures the soul of the hardcore romantic. Niffenegger introduces a unique element to relationships and eradicates the barriers of time. Even with this challenge, she stunningly untangles the often confusing journey with ease. Personally, I know I’ve enjoyed a book when I turn the last page, examine myself, and discover that I look like something out of a Rambo film! Can someone please remind me to invest in waterproof mascara?!
Because I am such a sucker for love stories, and since I can’t stop thinking about Henry and Clare, I give this incredible book 4 ½ outta 5 pumps! I’m only taking a half pump away for the pseudo-Twilight bedroom scenes that left me biting pillows of my very own!