Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Posts Tagged ‘Darcie Chan’

The Mill River Recluse

Posted by nliakos on March 14, 2016

by Darcie Chan (Ballantine Books 2013; originally published in 2011 as an e-book. ISBN 978-0-553-39187-9; e-book ISBN 978-0-615-52377-4)

This is a fairly simple story set in rural Vermont in the 1940s and the present day. Severe social anxiety disorder has imprisoned Mary McAllister (the eponymous recluse) in her marble home overlooking her hometown of Mill River, Vermont. The parish priest is her only friend; the majority of the townspeople have never laid eyes on her. Some of them have demonized her, not realizing that she is the secret benefactor of their community.

Most of the characters are simply sketched, either good or evil. There are few surprises; the author spells everything out, either directly or with obvious hints. I was taken unawares by only one plot twist (which I found kind of hard to believe). The reader does not have to work hard to connect the dots here.

There is a message, and it is that people with disabilities are people first. We should relate to them as individuals, with compassion for their humanity. That’s a worthy message.

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