Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review of Into the Wilderness by Deborah Lee Luskin

Into the Wilderness
Author: Deborah Lee Luskin
Rated: Excellent (*****)

It’s 1964 and 64-year-old Rose Mayer is living in Florida by way of New York. Rose is now a two-time widow who’s wondering what’s next in life. Sixty-four-year-old Percy Mendell is a life-long bachelor and Vermonter who takes each day as it comes.

Rose is just getting a taste of living on her own, especially after she convinces her son and daughter-in-law to leave her alone in their Vermont summer home for the winter. It’s nice to have quiet and not be responsible for taking care of anyone but herself. Percy is still adjusting to the void his sister’s death has left in his life, and in the large house they shared. And with retirement only months away, he’s beginning to wonder what he’ll do with all his new time.

The author brings the reader right into the lives of Rose and Percy by using their points of view. The writing is tight; no words are wasted. The details match the scenery – where Florida brings about an undone button, perspiration, and well-meaning neighbors; the words on the page are few, but filled with meaning that can be rung out. New Jersey and New York are bustling with people and words, yet there’s loneliness in being single; the words are short, clipped, and written with a sense of needing to keep moving – never stopping. There’s always the next activity to do, the next point to be made. In Vermont, life is friendly and easy. The words flow across the page like color in a landscape. The author also gives the characters varied musical interests, political points of view, religious experiences, and hobbies as a way to give them something to talk about, or keep them apart, which makes the story all that more intriguing and exciting to read.

Deborah Lee Luskin has been writing about Vermont life, past and present, since relocating from New York City in 1984. Learn more at her website,

Into the Wilderness is an excellent read. The fictional tale has a nice sprinkling of historical facts woven in. Having the story take place mostly in Vermont is personally appealing to this life-long New Englander. It’s a well-told story, and I enjoyed the ‘mystery’ of wondering if it would be a happily-ever-after ending. It’s a different type of romance that is truly enjoyable.

I had an interview with the author back in February.

Title: Into the Wilderness
Author: Deborah Lee Luskin
Publisher: White River Press
ISBN: 978-1-935052-20-3
Pages: 292
Price: $18.00

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