In Castles Burning (Champagne, 2014) by Keith Wayne McCoy, a son is confronted with horrors he thought he’d escaped when he left home years before. Wil Warner returns home when he receives an imperious summons from his mother.
As a child, he had been manipulated by and pulled between both his parents. His mother, a narcissistic woman obsessed with possessions and maintaining the family’s prominent position at the top of local society, believes that everything and everyone has a price. To prove her point, she bought her husband, Wil’s father. Wil learned early from his father, a handsome man who had worked for the family, that the price of being bought was obedience to the whims of the one who pays the bills, his wife and Wil’s mother.
When his mother tried to exert the same control over Wil after he returned from college for a visit with his girlfriend, he rejected her attempts to control him and walked out of her life—until the summons arrived. Wil arrives home to realize that he must deal with his mother who has fallen into the depths of mental illness.
McCoy’s Castles Burning is a great read that examines how mental illness affects individuals and families, especially when the mental illness leads to horrific acts that defy belief. Castles Burning also addresses Wil Warner’s personal growth as he must deal with the mother who dominated him in his youth with her selfishness and meanness, which devolved into insanity.
BUY LINKS: CHAMPAGNE BOOK GROUP / AMAZON
Turner’s Point by Gordon Osmond (Secret Cravings Publishers, 2014) chronicles the fall and recovery of a group of friends, relatives, and associates in a small town in Ohio. The crisis develops when a socially prominent wife and mother who is an aspiring actress and her son are both seduced by a washed-up Hollywood actor in town for a play (Slipping on Stardust, Secret Cravings, 2013). When he leaves, the Brockway family is in shambles. After their divorce, Dan—his law practice destroyed by an associate—leaves Ohio to open a new practice in California, accompanied by his new college-age girlfriend he acquired while his wife was engaged in her affair.
Eileen and son Kyle come to terms with their failures, confront their challenges, and begin their own recovery in their hometown with the help of some new friends. Eileen moves beyond the affair and divorce in search of financial success on her journey to personal success. Kyle joins her financial venture and embraces his gay lover and lifestyle on the road to his own happily-ever-after.
Turner’s Point is more literary fiction than traditional contemporary romance. Turner’s Point is filled with complex characters whose dysfunctional relationships are only resolved when they confront their challenges, then seek personal happiness and fulfillment. In the vernacular, sucking it up and moving on. Osmond graphically illustrates how those who don’t embrace healing are doomed to wallow in self-pity, and, eventually, turn outward in vicious tirades and personal attacks on others.
Turner’s Point is a highly recommended read. Osmond examines some of the more negative aspects of the human condition, then allows the characters to confront their devils to achieve personal absolution and triumph. A great read for those who appreciate hard-earned happily-ever-afters.
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In 1947, the luxury liner Queen Mary transmits a routine message which is intercepted by an extraterrestrial intelligence. A dying alien world uses the beacon to transport a mother and her two young children to the ship amid flashing electrical lights and a raging storm. James and Jess Bennett, a GI and his British war bride returning to New York are astounded by the apparition of a woman with her two children who gradually assumes corporeal shapes. Jess is drawn to the pathetic woman and accepts her silent entreaty to take her children. As the woman retreats into fog and disappears, the Bennett’s return to their cabin with their children. Despite the biological math being off a bit, the Bennett’s claim the children as their own and raise them on the family farm.
Flash forward to the present. Guy Turner, a melancholy black film maker, is tasked with filming a history of the Queen Mary. While the film will be a boost to his career, his personal life has recently fallen into shambles. His girlfriend of many years gave him “the ultimatum.” While he was fine with marriage, the idea of bringing children into the world was intimidating – so much that he allowed the love of his life to leave.
When Guy interviews James and Jess who are now divorced for his film, he never imagined he would be drawn into their lives and another extraterrestrial visit. When the flashing lights and storms appear and decades-old messages are received signaling another visit, his friend, a government employee he’d shared the couple’s strange story with, demands that he become involved in the new visitation.
The Travelers goes beyond fantasy to portray the life journeys of the characters to the limits of anxiety, despair, grief, and joy. A great read that not only entertains but challenges the reader to put him or herself in the shoes of the characters and perhaps examine his/her own priorities in life.
The Travelers is author Keith Wayne McCoy’s debut novel with Champagne Book Group: Burst. The Travelers was a quarter-finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Click the cover for buy link.