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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Susan Carnes’ Epiphany: Starting Over in Oregon reflects the soul of a woman. At the height of success, Lori Meyers leaves her marriage of twenty-six years and her family farm in Wisconsin. Tapping into her dormant spirit of adventure, Lori heads west to Oregon, searching for a place of refuge. When her car spins out of control on an icy road in Montana, Lori realizes her life is a gift and she shouldn’t waste it. An “aha” moment! Riddled with guilt and shame, Lori seeks an escape, a do-over in life. Her desire for peace and solace is interrupted by a stranger. Gayle is a man of mystery, charisma, and provocative charm. This unexpected meeting lures her into the essence of her surroundings. Lori finds herself falling in love again, putting together the pieces of her broken life. Oregon, with its raw beauty and rare and unusual folk, wins her over. Out of the darkness of the unknown, Lori finds her way to freedom.
Epiphany: Starting Over in Oregon is a story of endings and beginnings, heartache and humor, confusion and enlightenment. Odd, amusing, frightening and real, the narrative is strangely entertaining. Susan Carnes reveals the fierce fragility locked within her heroine’s mind. The theme, repeated several times within the story, of “one teaches best what one most needs to learn” links the heroine to her destiny. The female protagonist portrays strength, vulnerability, innocence, and wisdom. On occasion, the point of view switches from the main character to a supporting character, and when this occurs, the character’s soul and intent surface, reflecting the depth of individual persona. This unique writing style creates a balance in the characterization.
Carnes’ descriptions are romantic and sensory. She invites you into the panorama of Oregon’s landscape by including historical tidbits and vivid word illustrations. Carnes inserts poems within the prose, and although beautiful and profound, not all the poetry flows. I would love to read an anthology of this poetry in a separate book, as deep thoughts are expressed in her poetic words. The conclusion is refreshing and positive, leaving the reader with hope for tomorrow.