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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Holding: Prequel to The Healing by Lynda Faye Schmidt is a work of literary fiction based on real-life events, set in North America in a time of Escape to Witch Mountain and Nancy Drew books. Cate is the central character and the novel is narrated from her point of view. Readers are introduced to Cate in childhood where she experiences moments of happiness and the pure love only a child can have, and others where her vulnerability and tiny body are exploited and abused in the worst possible ways. This is a coming-of-age story that spans decades, and Schmidt depicts each step with the respect a novel of this magnitude requires. Every moment shapes Cate even when they come full circle. Even when the deplorable actions of a magician are as extreme as a man on his wedding night. Cate's life moves from one tragedy to the next, from what feels like one win turning into a hundred losses. And then, tragedy strikes once more.
“He doesn’t utter one word, but he doesn’t need to. I turn my head toward him. Reflected in his eyes is such a depth of emotion. My heart knows it perfectly.” The Holding by Lynda Faye Schmidt is one of those books that is so consuming you feel like you are watching someone's life evolve before you in real time. Cate feels real. She feels authentic and organic and like every woman. She's not every woman but she carries the burden of a dozen lives where just one of her experiences will cripple a person. But Cate perseveres. The novel is beautiful in how profoundly raw and honest it is, which is a huge thing to say given that it is so very heartbreaking. This is literary fiction in the classic sense and it is absolutely wonderful. Readers do need to be aware that there are strong triggers in the book as it covers a wide range of horrible realities. They are appropriate and respectful to the work, and would never be construed as gratuitous. They are there because they are part of Cate's journey, and I feel honored to have been invited to join her.