Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on January 20th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Paranormal, Romance
eARC provided by Copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
“Stunning… richly complex and unpredictable.” —<em>Historical Novel Review</em>
Marged Brice is 134 years old. She’d be ready to go, if it weren’t for Perdita . . .
The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…
Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.
Everyone knows about death. It’s life that’s much more mysterious…
This book had me engrossed by the end of the first page. Perdita is the story of a place, and a person. Marged Brice may be the oldest woman alive at 134 years old, or she may be a confused little old lady. As Garth Hellyer reads through her journals he learns that Marged has a history as rich as the landscape she belongs to, and a mysterious girl named Perdita is part of her legacy.
Garth is working for the longevity project. He is trying to find the oldest person living. His claim needs proof in order to go on the record as the oldest person alive. That is how he meets Marged, who claims to be 134 years old. Marged shows Garth her birth certificate, and tries to convince him of its authenticity. Marged invites Garth to read her journals and learn more about how she could possibly have lived so very long. In reading the journals, Garth sees her famous connections. Garth gets wrapped in her tale and shares the journey with a woman from his past named Clare. Clare and Garth together try to discern the truth of who Marged is and separate fact from fiction. Somewhere in the tale we get a glimpse of who Perdita is and why her story is one that has to be told.
This diary is the historical account of Marged in her own words. I found some of the diary a bit much. It is written as literary prose, which is a bit of an acquired taste. These are the personal thoughts of a young woman. So there are flowery thoughts of someone who wants to make a good impression and her family proud, of someone who tries to do the right thing in the every situation. There was a love story in the diary, but it was a bit of a mystery. There were a few nautical adventures in there, making it an adventure as well. I am glad I stuck with it because by the last quarter of the story, everything tied in together to make a magical ending
This diary of Marged also tells us how she came to find Perdita. Why Perdita may be the thing keeping her from passing on. I loved how the author peppered in the story of Garth and Clare. They are good characters with a vested interest in Marged story. I really loved this book. Right away I found myself wanting to believe Marged. Much like Clare, I wanted this to be true and be amazed. Perdita wasn’t quite what I expected, but I felt something for her. This book found a great balance of history, paranormal, nautical adventure, Greek mythology, romance, and mystery. I would recommend this read.
About the Author
Hilary Scharper, who lives in Toronto, spent a decade as a lighthouse keeper on the Bruce Peninsula with her husband. She also is the author of a story collection, Dream Dresses, and God and Caesar at the Rio Grande (University of Minnesota Press) which won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. She received her Ph.D. from Yale and is currently Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto.