This is a book that I just blasted through!! Canadian author Donna Milner has written a beautifully tense and poignant story about loss, love and forgiveness. Thanks so much to Andrea at Caitlin Press for sending us an advanced reading copy so that we could be amongst the first to read it!
Somewhere In-Between is the story of Julie O’Dale, a mother struggling to survive the most tragic event imaginable — the loss of her only child. She blames herself for “allowing” it to happen and does not know how she will ever get over it. Her marriage to Ian is on the brink of failing so as a last ditch effort she gives in to his dream of becoming a ranch owner and agrees to move from the city to the remote area of Chilcotin, British Columbia. Perhaps a new start will help them to heal; help them learn to live without their beloved Darla.
The property is out of a post card — vast and mountainous, full of nature trails and wildlife. It comes with horses, cattle and a mysterious tenant, Virgil Blue. Ian immediately takes to the land and spends the first couple of weeks working side by side with Virgil harvesting the hay. This is his excuse to stay busy and forget. Julie does not take to the change of scenery quite as easily — but she is trying. She takes over the garden — successfully harvesting potatoes and keeping the weeds at bay — but would rather be spending her time wandering the many trails on her own with her thoughts. Unlike Ian, she does not want to forget.
One year. One year, she repeats the silent mantra. One year. She has committed to one year. She can do anything for a year, can’t she? Then she will see.
Soon they find that have been on the ranch for a month already and Julie is yet to meet Virgil whereas Ian seems to be spending more and more time with him. After Virgil insists (through Ian) that Julie get a dog to accompany her on her walks she decides that it is time they meet and plans to invite him for dinner. When they are introduced she is wildly surprised when she sees that Virgil is wearing the same carved crow pendant that Darla was wearing on the night of her death. She rudely runs off and when Ian catches up to ask “what the hell?” nine months of politely dodging the subject of Darla is broken. Julie lets Ian have it and she realizes that the place that was supposed to bring them back together seems to be pulling them apart. Will they ever be able to get over their loss?
And that is all I want to say in summary of this treat of a book because the best part of this story is experiencing the unfolding of it all as you read. The heartbreaking tale of Darla’s death, Virgil’s unreal story and Julie’s difficult healing process blend together just wonderfully — you will have a hard time putting it down once you have picked it up! Originally I rated it as a 3.5 but the story has really stayed with me. I finished reading it over a week ago and I still find my self thinking about the characters in this book. I’m bumping it up to a 4! Great read! Get this book!