Finding Charli

Lake Scugog Mysteries Book 4

Fiction - Visionary
262 Pages
Reviewed on 03/03/2022
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Author Biography

Maighread MacKay is a Canadian Author and member of the WCDR (Writers’ Community of Durham Region), and the Visionary Fiction Alliance (VFA). Her novels are set in Ontario, Canada and use Canadian spelling and expressions. She loves life and to explore its meaning through nature, art, animals and listening to stories. Her genre is Mystical Realism/Visionary Fiction which is described as “embracing spiritual and esoteric wisdom and makes it relevant for our modern life. Gems of this spiritual wisdom are brought forth in story form so that readers can experience the wisdom from within themselves. The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.”

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Finding Charli is a work of fiction in the visionary, mystery, and magical realism subgenres, and it serves as the fourth installment in the Lake Scugog Mysteries series. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Maighread MacKay. In this fascinating tale filled with complex emotional intrigue and mysterious magical influences, we meet protagonist Charlotte Bancroft when she is at a crossroads in her life. Overcome by grief at the death of her grandmother, Martha, Charlotte finds herself in even more trouble when a winter storm sees her stranded at a strange hotel with a collection of people who are truly never what they seem.

It is rare to find a work of magical realism that actually settles into the realism side of itself so swiftly and convincingly, but author Maighread MacKay has a real knack for making you believe every mystical and unusual happening in this work. As such, the emotional realism of the work also becomes all the more convincing, as though any one of us could find ourselves wandering in a storm for shelter and end up in just as unnerving a situation as Charlotte does. The characterization of the piece is also a huge highlight, from Charlotte’s own highly relatable journey through to the weird and wonderful people she meets along the way, each of whom is easily memorable in the cinematic descriptive style of the author. For a highly engrossing mystery that stands alone well, but will also introduce readers to a talented, atmospheric author, look no further than Finding Charli.

David W Thompson

5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful and thought provoking

Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2022

If you enjoy stories with alternate realities or parallel universes, you've likely enjoyed a tale or two by the author, Maighread MacKay. "Finding Charli" is such a tale, although I hesitate to minimize the novel by the confines of a single genre. Elements of high fantasy, romance and magical realism are interwoven seamlessly with thought-provoking feel-good philosophy reminiscent of "The Little Prince."
The main character, Charli, is a young woman who's lost her way after the death of her supportive grandmother. This loss, the condescending men in her life and some deep-seated resentments from her youth combine to trap her in a very dark place. She is unsure of who she is, the direction she wants for her life and even her own worth.
After an argument with her boyfriend over the immediate need for marriage (his need), she drives towards home in a blizzard- only to wreck her vehicle on the icy roads. The accident is the trigger for her "out-of-world" experience. With her vehicle out of commission, Charli sets off on foot. Spying a distant light, she moves towards what she assumes to be home. What she discovers is a mystical inn with... But further spoilers here. I don't want to ruin the surprise. (Suffice it to say I'm actively searching to make reservations there).
The author deftly conveys the character's disbelief (and ultimate belief) along with the precise setting descriptions in a manner that I soon felt I was right there at the Inn with Charli. Her experiences, along with the colorful characters she meets, lead to dramatic changes in her life and relationships.
I highly recommend this as a must read, and an important one. It's a feel-good emotional roller coaster, and a thought provoking read you won't soon forget
If you haven't read this author before, you're missing out on a real treasure. Well done.