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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Echoes the Drum by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Echoes the Drum by Nancy Lindley-Gauthier
Publisher: Eternal Press
genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (164 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Ivy

Cori Greig jets to her Alaskan coastal home for summer break and lands smack between the ex-boyfriend and her incredibly handsome white water rafting guide.

Seth impresses her with his sensitivity and compassion for the beautiful and still unprotected white whales in the sound. And he knows all about the upcoming hunt.

Cori, reaching out for one baby Beluga can’t believe anyone would hard this gentle creature. Seth shares her compassion, yet his obsession is a little crazy, maybe even scary. Cori struggles to believe the best in Seth for the sake of that one baby snow-white whale.

Her first love, Dark, seems oh-so-sincere, but then again, he always did. His opinions and offers of help are suspect from the first. Just because he can lead a shamanic journey doesn’t make him loyal.

Cori can’t quite believe in either of them. The trickster, raven, may be her totem, but she feels like the only one who is ever fooled.

Cori is home from college in Boston. Nothing much seems to have changed in her small Alaskan town. Her father still entertains the tourists. Her mother is still drinking. But her boyfriend, Dark, that cheated on her in high school, seems a little too happy to see her.

Meeting river guide, Seth, is an exciting turn of events, especially when he shares the local beluga whales with her, but Seth has a dark side. The locals want to perform their ancient ritual of whale hunting, and this conflicts Cori in a way she never expected as she tries to understand the handsome Seth and his overzealous commitment to stop it.

The focus of this story is on Cori and her desire to find some sense of peace in her hometown and from her broken family. Her mother is a mean drunk and the two men vying her for her heart are confusing with their sketchy intentions and backgrounds. It seems the only man in her life that can be trusted is her vagabond musician father, Jack, who is the brightest light in this story about the clash of culture and environment. I fell in love with Jack; the whole mood of the story seemed to brighten when he came onto the scene. I could feel Cori’s love for her dad.

The author creates the mood and setting of the Alaskan landscape with artistic skill. Descriptions are talented and tangible. The worn tourist town of Cori’s home, the chilling weather and landscape, left me feeling cold as I hoped to see the story take off on an adventure of making the world a better place.

In a way, this is accomplished, as a happy ending results for the beautiful belugas, but the no holds barred approach to the ugliness of animal slaughter as an ancient ritual is a testing journey for the reader. I appreciated that this issue was addressed, it’s what drew me to the book. Though the storyline disoriented me occasionally with its twists and turns, the outcome left me satisfied. These are sensitive issues and in the end, I felt informed yet able to decide for myself.

The characters of Echoes the Drum have depth, darkness, and charm. Cori’s challenge is to see truth and face evil more than seek romance. Her two suitors provide conflict that forces her to confront fear. Both men are complex but meet their deserved rewards. Echoes the Drum is not a fanciful escape but a serious read with thoughtful observances and consequences. Although I was happy for Cori’s cultural and environmental conclusion, I secretly hoped she’d hang out with her dad and wait for a different Prince Charming to come along.

Ms. Lindley-Gauthier’s writing is poetic and cultivated. With such passion for our beautiful planet, her stories, like Echoes the Drum, sustain a growing genre for a generation endowed with great responsibility.