The Soul Retrieval

A Novel

Fiction - Inspirational
426 Pages
Reviewed on 05/18/2015
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Author Biography

Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and more than twenty-five years’ experience as an award-winning writer in advertising and public relations agencies, both in South Carolina and Chicago. She now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends part of her time as a freelance copywriter and the rest writing fiction.

The Soul Retrieval was inspired by Jarvie’s maternal grandmother’s fascinating life on a Native American reservation, where she lived with her physician husband until his mysterious and untimely death.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

The Soul Retrieval: A Novel by Ann W. Jarvie is an uplifting and touching story of love, loss, redemption, and healing. The story is set in the 1950s and revolves around Henrietta Clayborn, who is living with her family in New Mexico's Medichero Indian Reservation in the doctor's cottage. She is hiding a secret from everyone; her family and her physician husband, Jeff, who is working in a hospital there. She is tortured by the fact she is hiding this secret from her family. It's at that juncture she meets a medicine man, Joe Loco, who understands her dilemma. Henrietta starts confiding in him. Will Joe be able to help Henrietta?

The story is complex and has many dimensions to it which makes it intense and profound. The story is beautiful and it takes readers between South Carolina and New Mexico. The narration is descriptive, making it very palpable and visual to readers. The spiritual journey undertaken by Joe and Henrietta is soulful and captivating, and it transcends the usual human boundaries. All the characters are well sketched, making their individual personalities stand out. There is much richness in the plot, which will open up many discussions in the minds of readers.

It's a well researched book that will help readers understand more about the wounded souls that live on earth and also about healing from loss, pain and trauma that one undergoes in their personal lives. The book is a combination of many emotions that makes it an interesting read. An excellent love story that has many dimensions to it. I enjoyed it thoroughly because there is a lot in the story to think about and understand.

Kathryn Bennett

The Soul Retrieval: A Novel by Ann W. Jarvie was inspired by a true story. It is a tale that has love, loss and, above all, healing in a story very much of the kind of real life that we all struggle with. Henrietta Clayborn is a southern woman who is beautiful, but has suffered trauma in her life. She moves from her home in South Carolina to New Mexico and the Native American reservation there. The healings that happen there are what draw her husband back, and why they must go back and forth between home and there. Meanwhile Henrietta is trying to thrive in either place and she finds it hard because of her secrets. It is only when she makes friends with a healer named Joe Loco, who loves Elvis, that she finds a way to once again be whole.

This book is told in two parts throughout - you spend time with the present and the past so you can truly understand why Henrietta is how she is and the journey she has had to deal with. There is an entertaining cast of characters throughout, but the focus is Henrietta. I felt a connection with her and how she is struggling in life just to be normal and find a way to be truly happy and whole. I enjoyed this book from the first page until I finished it, and I found myself going through the whole gamut of emotions. You can tell that Ann W. Jarvie put a lot of love, sweat and tears into the making of this book. It flows beautifully and involves the reader in the journey that the characters go on. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes a suspenseful and emotional book that keeps you engaged.

K.C. Finn

The Soul Retrieval is a dramatic fiction novel by Ann W. Jarvie which is based on true events from the life of the author’s grandmother. The plot follows Henrietta Clayborn, wife to doctor Jeff, and their upheaval from Southern Carolina living to the Medichero Indian Reservation in the 1950s. Here, Henrietta’s emotional past resurfaces when she meets Joe Loco and his wife Altie, Apache Indians who both sense that Henrietta’s soul has suffered damage somewhere in her life. As her husband Jeff challenges his own beliefs about medicine versus native healing, Henrietta sees the true effects of restoring herself as a whole person through the faith of the new culture all around her. What results is an enlightening tale with an inspirational message at heart.

I was surprised by the amount of action in The Soul Retrieval, which is nicely balanced with amusing dialogue and vivid descriptions of both the world Henrietta comes from and the brand new culture in which she finds herself immersed. I enjoyed the xenophobic clash of Henrietta’s first meeting with Joe, and found her to be an excellent heroine who can lead readers through the story with both curiosity and fear as she learns to trust the new friends she has made. Ann W. Jarvie’s writing is a breeze to read, but the deep set issues she has worked into the story will keep you thinking long after the last page is read. Overall, The Soul Retrieval will satisfy spiritual readers who enjoy emotionally charged tales of past transgressions, redemption, and healing.

Gisela Dixon

The Soul Retrieval: A Novel by Ann W. Jarvie is a fictional novel set in the '50s that is bound to take the reader on a spiritual journey of their own. The story essentially follows the life of Henrietta Clayborn, a mother of three children living with her physician husband, Jeff Clayborn. Henrietta is a southern lady living on a plantation in South Carolina, who moves to an Indian reservation in New Mexico due to her husband’s work. There she meets Joe, a wise yet quirky Indian spiritual healer. The story then unfolds as we learn more about Henrietta’s past and the secrets that haunt her. What happens next as she learns to deal with her troubled past, the healing that takes place with Joe's help, her own spiritual journey, as well as the hidden truths that come to light form the basis of the novel.

The Soul Retrieval: A Novel by Ann W. Jarvie is well written and I loved the vivid descriptions of the landscapes of both South Carolina as well as New Mexico. All of the characters in the book are well drawn, especially Joe with his mix of mysticism, quirkiness, wisdom, and humor. I also enjoyed the spiritual and mystical undertones in this book that definitely made me pause and reflect at times. The Soul Retrieval: A Novel is a very engaging read and I almost read the entire book in one sitting. All in all, this is a highly enjoyable book and one that I would recommend.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Ann W. Jarvie’s The Soul Retrieval takes you on a spiritual journey of soul healing. Henrietta Clayborn is a devoted wife, mother and writer. Yet she has become a miserable shell of a woman. As a result of a severe trauma, her soul has been torn to pieces. Living in shame, she “has buried her words and her voice, along with her ‘unspeakable secret.’” Henrietta’s husband, Jeff, is a doctor assigned once again by the Department of Interior to the Medichero Indian reservation in New Mexico. Much to his father’s chagrin, Jeff continues his research regarding the “spontaneous healings” that occur on the reservation. Joe Loco, a local medicine man, joins Jeff on the hospital staff. Joe is brilliantly odd and frighteningly intuitive. He easily reads Henrietta. Feeling utterly lost, Henrietta agrees to tap into the native “bear medicine” ritual to retrieve her fragmented soul. Is it possible for a shattered soul to be healed and mended? Henrietta embarks on a rare and spiritual journey to find out.

The Soul Retrieval is a mystical tale, enriched with native American metaphorical language. Enticingly written, Ann W. Jarvie uses a persuasive journalistic writing style, asking questions and providing answers through dialogues between the characters. Jarvie displays her originality by placing the story’s setting in the 1950s. She places her heroine, a southern woman, in the middle of a New Mexico Indian Reservation. Times were about to change, but they hadn’t changed yet. The protagonist exemplifies the need for self empowerment in an era when women were considered pretty icons in the kitchen. Meanwhile, the antagonist is a controlling, evil, beguiling psychopath. The supporting characters are spiritually intriguing and often humorous. Using this well-rounded and balanced cast of characters, Jarvie creates a plot designed with several “shock and awe” moments. The narrative declares: life is to be pursued, no matter how difficult. “Truth is understood better when it is experienced.” The Soul Retrieval depicts trauma, loss and heartache. But most of all, it portrays the boldness within to seek inspiration and truth.