Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Northwoods Chronicles-Elizabeth Engstrom

The Northwoods Chronicles
Elizabeth Engstrom
Five Star, Aug 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9781594147050

Residents of isolated White Pines Junction in Vargas County live a prosperous contented life. The town seems normal to the tourists who flock there for fishing in the lakes in the summer. However, the locals know that periodically children under the age of twelve years old disappear without a trace. The townsfolk accept the abductions as a fee from beyond for their wonderful lifestyle.

Not all accept the sudden loss of their child. For instance when adolescent Micah is abducted, his mom Margie needs closure as she obsesses over knowing who and why. Her husband has already adjusted to the inevitable, but though somewhat at peace she pursues what is accepted by the natives as natural.

THE NORTHWOODS CHRONICLES is actually twenty interlocking short stories as each additional entry builds off the previous contributions. Together the entries make a fascinating paranormal novel in which for the most part the local residents live contented quiet evenings, but once in a while a snatch occurs. Surprisingly the novel in stories works because the differing characters enable Elizabeth Engstrom to look deep at what makes a human as she explores various types of love especially sacrificial and its symbiotic partners guilt and grief.

Harriet Klausner

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