Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Summer Country; J.A. Hetley

This was published by Ace in 2004. James A. Hetley has a webpage, but it appears to be down right now. The link in the title is to an interview. The Summer Country a dark alternate reality/urban fantasy set in contemporary Maine and in a rural alternate world, the Summer Country of the title, where magic and magical beings of all descriptions are the modus operandi.

Maureen and Jo Pierce are sisters living in a tiny town. One night Maureen gets accosted by one stranger and rescued by another. Her rescuer, one Brian Arthur Pendragon Albion, has some fantastical tales to tell. Unfortunately for Brian Maureen isn't the type to give a guy any slack and she tries to send him on his way. Unfortunately, weird things begin to happen to her from that night forward. Maureen gets 'magiced' across the boundary into TSC. Turns out, the majority of the dominant beings in TSC are sterile. Only a select few are fertile- thus they are dying out & are indesperate need of fresh blood. Maureen and Jo happen to be magical beings despite being raised as ordinary humans and are completely illiterate in the ways and means of TSC. Thus, Maureen (but not Jo) is needed to infuse fresh genes into TSC. What happens to her there is the thrust of this story.

Maureen reminds me of Christine Feehan heroines- deeply damaged by childhood trauma, chip on her shoulder, prickly, yet vulnerable too. Maureen is only 28, but has a long history of severe alcoholism & serious mental disorders behind her. Her past history made parts of this novel hard to read, but I thought her issues were senstively handled as is her relationship with her sister. I had some problems with how her emotional and mental state was described toward the end of this novel, but the saga continues in the next installment, which is titled The Winter Oak (already available). I'm hopeful Mr. Hetley will continue with the complexity and depth of Maureen and Jo's characters and I hope he will resist temptation to wrap up these novels into neat little packages with every last little string tied and tucked in.

No comments: