Friday, March 20, 2015

Perdita by Hilary Scharper

Marged Brice is 134 years old. She’d be ready to go, if it weren’t for Perdita . . .
The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…
Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.
Everyone knows about death. It’s life that’s much more mysterious…

After a tragic accident, Garth Hellyer throws himself into conducting research for the Longevity Project where he discovers Marged Brice. She’s claiming to be 134 years old and while she’s ready to die, she can’t for fear of leaving Perdita, a mysterious presence that can only be revealed through her journals.
Although he’s skeptic, he elects to take home Marged’s journals and with the help of his childhood friend Clare, they slowly uncover the mystery of Marged and Perdita.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Perdita. As a fan of gothics, I knew I had to give this novel a go. I was intrigued by the mystery of whom or what Perdita was, so I was a slightly disappointed by the fact that she’s mentioned early on in chapter 1 then disappears until page 349.
The novel drew me in but occasionally the journal entries bogged down the pacing and gave it a sluggish feel. And while Marged’s story, through her journal entries, is fleshed-out the modern day story of Garth and Clare needed to be equally developed to round out the novel.
If you’re looking for a novel that ties up the ending in a neat little bow, this isn’t one of those novels. Several loose ends are left at the end and questions are answered with more questions.
The gothic aspect of this book was interesting. Inflections of Emily Brontë are found throughout Scharper’s prose. Although whereas Brontë’s use of nature was through an atmospheric approach used to heighten the readers senses, Scharper elected to bring forth nature as another character in a literary style her husband coined as ‘eco-gothic’. While the styles of Brontë and Scharper both draw heavily upon nature, Scharper, while brilliantly painting a rugged wilderness, loses the atmosphere that I associate with the gothic style. 
Overall, Perdita was an engaging read. The beginning was slow, but it’s well worth sticking it out.


Book Details
Title: Perdita
Author: Hilary Scharper
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 9781492602446   
Release Date: 1/20/2015
Formats: E-book & Trade Paperback
Source: Printed Arc from Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Cups

Review also featured on Royal Reviews

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