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The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

December 05, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 170

The story began with Mary Hayes-McAllister, an elderly widow who suffered from social anxiety disorder for all of her adult life and who learned she was terminally ill. Reflecting on her memories of the past eighty plus years, she had decided that she wanted to live the last moments of her life on her own terms.

The setting of the story took place in the small, quaint town of Mill River, Vermont-a place where everyone knew one another, a place that held periodic town hall meetings, and a place that only had four police officers. Mill River was a town that bred people who were honest and hardworking, but Mary McAllister was a recluse whose inability to socially interact with those people caused her to miss out on the opportunity to know each one of them personally. Mary's only friend was a priest named Michael O'Brien who was assigned to Mill River when they were in their twenties, and he would spend the majority of his life there looking after her because of a promise he made to her grandfather-in-law, Conor McAllister, the patriarch of her husband's family who owned a marbleworks business. He was the only one of Mary's in-laws who loved and accepted her into the family, and he made sure that all of her financial needs were met before he died.

The story also jumped from past to present from the beginning to the end-chronicling Mary's life from the time she was in high school during World War II until her death. It focused on her tragedies and misfortunes-an abusive husband, snobbish in-laws and a secret that would change the course of her entire life-but it also detailed how these ill-fated mishaps didn't change who she was at the core even though she completely withdrew from society.

O'Brien was a priest with a fixation for silver spoons, Daisy was a quirky woman who mixed love potions, Fitz was a police chief whose wife bakes cherry pies; and Leroy was a perverted, pyromaniac police officer who stalked a beautiful elementary school teacher. These were some of the characters who populated Mill River and made the story quite captivating. The Mill River Recluse had a little bit of mystery, humor, romance and even suspense-this wasn't a book that could be categorized in one genre alone. Darcie Chan had skillfully woven a novel that left me spellbound and stirred my emotions-two things that rarely happen to me simultaneously. The ending left me speechless, and it gave me hope that unconditional love and compassion still existed in a world ruled by instant gratification and greed.

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Inspirational Fiction


Darcie Chan


The Mill River Recluse


Romance Fiction


Mystery Fiction

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