Athena Grayson's Reviews > Twixt

Twixt by Diane J. Reed
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May 09, 12

Recommended for: fans of magical realism, people who believe in love,
Read from April 04 to 28, 2012 — I own a copy

Rose's life is a mess. Thirty, widowed, and with a traumatized child, she's run back home to Ophir Creek, Idaho to try and heal--both herself and her daughter--from her abusive husband's chaotic influence on her life. But bad pennies have a way of turning up, and O'Dannan women have a way of stumbling across them, lifetime after lifetime.

Normally, when I read books, I look for realism. Never far from my mind is the question of, "Would I do that in this situation? Or would I just pack up and get out of Dodge?" But between Diane Reed's lyrical, rich writing and Rose's deeply sympathetic story, my disbelief was so fully suspended that I half-expected to step outside my door onto green Irish shores. Rose's world is a world where the spiritual, the fae, the world of belief, is right there alongside the world that most of us perceive as "reality." This story is her spirit walk, and like all spirit walks, it changes all who are on the path.

Aiding Rose in her quest are a cast of quirky, weirdly wonderful characters that fit perfectly into the Skid Row collective of this dinky little gold-rush town, yet have unique appeal because of their redemptive potential. Rose's best friend is both the somewhat-clueless instigator into trouble, and at the same time, the wise mentor with an unerring sense of direction to bring Rose right back out of trouble. Chance Murphy, the tetched-in-the-head forest ranger and Rose's "soul guardian" has a story of his own that will move anyone with a pulse. Rose's meddling sister Laurel, Ray the town paranoid, and the host of other supporting characters are full of depth and dimension. Even the villain of the piece moves with such subtle, sophisticated menace through the landscape of Rose's redemption, you won't notice how white-knuckled your grip on the Kindle has become until your fingers cramp and you realize it's after midnight on a week night. Because time has little meaning in the spirit world.

Twixt is a true love story where the motifs of love and redemption manifest in strange, wonderful, and unexpected ways. Not the least of which is Rose's connection to her traumatized little girl. Anyone with a special needs person in their lives will recognize the anguish, hope, and frustration of trying to understand someone whose understanding of the world is different from your own, and the triumph of traveling along with Rose as she shifts her hope from charts and development milestones to her trust in her connection with her daughter.

This is not a book you race through. It should be savored. If you read it fast, you'll miss the beauty, the layers, the real magic in the story. Rose's journey is one of healing, of mending fences, not just physically or in the relationship realm, but in her own acceptance of herself, her flaws, her family, and the transformative power of love.

As a reader following vicariously this journey of Rose's, I had to stop and put the story down several times as I looked around my world and realized that I was being gently led into the realization that as a "grown-up," I had forgotten a lot about how to dream. Twixt helped me to remember.

Who will love this book: Readers of magical realism, people who love emotional journeys, people who believe in fairies, and anyone who's ever twirled around in a backyard under a brilliant sun or a full moon until they fell down, laughing and dizzy and out of breath. Or who would like to do so again.
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