Anne Hawn Smith's Reviews > Folly

Folly by Laurie R. King
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May 24, 12

bookshelves: mystery, victorian
Read from March 20 to April 24, 2011

This book is a very compelling look at madness and healing. I found it different from anything else I have read by Laurie R. King. The main character is a woman, Rae Newborn, in her 50's, who has been subject to severe depression and several suicide attempts, and who has come to a deserted island in the Juan de Fuga straits. She was attempting to reconstruct the house left by her mysterious Great Uncle Desmond. The house burned and Desmond disappeared many years before and for some reason, she has an odd connection to both the house and her Uncle Desmond. Rae had been a successful artist whose worked with wood brought her fame and wealth, but after the tragic death of her husband and small daughter, and the madness it drove her to, has turned to building as a form of healing and finding herself again.

The most interesting aspect of this book is the intersection between paranoid madness and the possibility of actual physical danger from a real person who is stalking and intent on killing her. Rae struggles to differentiate between the two and to heal herself by reacting appropriately to the very real danger she is in.

Laurie R. King's skill at creating characters is never stronger than in this novel. The complexities of Rae, her daughter Tamara, and their relationship is the best of all her books. In Rae, she has given a window into madness and the struggle to reach beyond the chaotic thoughts of the insane to sanity. I have a relative who is mentally ill and I found real insight into the self-destructive impulses that can not be controlled despite a true desire to be sane.
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