I have “not one single memory from the part of my childhood when I lived in Louisiana,” Miranda Miller stated. Everyone knows how it feels to forget where you put something and the long tortuous hours you might have spent retracing your steps to find it. Imagine not being able to remember five years from your childhood. Mindy Starns Clark takes us on this journey and unravels the mystery in WHISPERS OF THE BAYOU.
The storyline is centered around Miranda Miller, a young woman whose marriage is disintegrating before her very eyes. In recent months she has received urgent letters from the elderly caretaker of her late grandparent’s estate in Louisiana, a mysterious tattoo of “a symbol: an elaborate cross inside the shape of a bell” on the back of her neck and a recent physical attack. The attack which happened in broad daylight was the final straw. As she contemplated whether there was a connection between the two, she decided to head to Louisiana.
What started out as a slow read, built up steam and gently seduced you into the storyline of mystery and intrigue set in the Louisiana Bayou country. Once there Miranda finds the family secrets that Willy Pedreaux, the elderly caretaker tried so desperately to tell her. He died shortly before she arrived. She stayed in the family mansion, Twin Oaks, complete with hidden rooms, paintings with messages and weird inhabitants, which all played a part in Miranda regaining her memory. Aunt Janet, “AJ” a reluctant keeper of the secrets, finally shared the details of her late sister’s (Miranda’s mother) death. Eventually Miranda learns the truth about a twin sister she “forgot” she had, her mother’s death, and the mysterious tattoo.
THOUGHTS for your SOUL:
- “I may not be the best mother in the world, not even close, but I knew that I loved her, that I would do anything to keep her safe, to make her happy.”
- “The Bible. Either it’s the true Word of God or it isn’t. You can’t pick and choose just the warm and fuzzy parts, or just the parts that make sense, and then use them to create your own version of who you wish God was, I realized that I had two choices: embrace the whole thing or reject the whole thing. Period.”
Some of the elements included “the myth of the Angelus.” A key element is the history of the Acadians or Cajuns and the connection to Miranda’s tattoo. Class structure, family secrets, lies and relationship issues play an integral part as well. The choice of Louisiana as the backdrop added the extra element of mystery that served the storyline very well. It is important to note that, we have been conditioned by our culture/society and the fiction of Louisiana to accept people and things that would be dismissed in another setting.
The transformational miracle of spirituality saved what could have been a tragedy for all parties involved seemed right and appropriate to be included at the end of the story. What made WHISPERS OF THE BAYOU a good read was the skillful incorporation of a number of elements that kept you interested in the various plot twists and the totally unexpected revelation at the end. As for the meaning of the ancient myth of the tattoo – “the symbol: an elaborate cross inside the shape of a bell,” you will have to check out the book.
Let’s BOND over BOOKS rates WHISPERS OF THE BAYOU as CHALLENGINGLY CHARISMATIC (301-500)…borderline lengthy – “it better have a good ending!”