It starts with Just Watching. But danger emerges when Just Watching ends.
When the “wild child” Xavier first encounters Cass Hardwood and her dogs in the woods of West Quebec, he is enthralled. Unknown to them, he Just Watches them in a lengthy ongoing surveillance, before finally staging a meeting. His motives are uncertain – even to him.
The intersection of the lives of Cass, a competitive dog-handler, her dogs, her cousin Lori and the complex and enigmatic Xavier, leads them all into a spiral of danger. It starts when Just Watching ends - when Cass and her crew encounter tragedy in the bush. Xavier’s involvement in the tragedy, unknown to Cass, sets off a chain of potentially lethal events, that begin in the dark woods of Lac Rouge, when hiking, skiing, hunting, trapping, marijuana grow-ops, and pedophilia, collide. It matures in the suburbs of both Ottawa and Baltimore, and culminates back in Lac Rouge, when Lori’s spurned and abusive lover arrives uninvited at Cass’ isolated cabin in the woods. In the night. In the cold. In the heavily-falling snow. His arrival is observed by Xavier, whose motives are again uncertain, but whose propensity for action is not.
Join Xavier, Lori, Cass and the realistic and compelling dogs that are essential players in this dark drama, as their fates converge in a deadly loop of revenge, fear, guilt, and hope.
Emergence - 4.5/5 star IndieReader Approved Book I was thrilled to get the IndieReader review of Emergence last week. The book was awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars, and thus earned the coveted IndieReaderApproved status, granted only to works accorded 4 or 5 stars.
Here are some highlights from the review:
"A slow-burn thriller. Emergence …. makes for a deliciously disquieting ride…”
“… it is the odd relationship between Cass and Xavier that propels us through this unique thriller. “
Ms. Beals' novel is both a lesson in the love of the Canadian wilderness and dog obedience training and a slow-building thriller that had this reader holding her breath.
Cass and Noah are private people with a few close friends and family. Their trips to Lac Rouge are always a welcome getaway that gives Cass time to train her obedience dogs for competition as well as enjoy her secluded cabin and the beautiful Canadian wilderness. Little does she know she's being observed by a young boy with unknown intentions.
Told in Xavier and Cass's points of view, the story gives off a creepy stalker vibe at first and turns into a lesson in friendship and protecting those you care about. It starts with a slow build of well-developed characters and underlying danger intertwined with new friendships and troubled relationships. I went into this story thinking it was a suspense thriller, but it is much, much more. It is has a twist that you don't see coming with an antihero that earns the reader's trust and acceptance.
I enjoy Cass's closeness with her cousin, Lori, as they enjoy the outdoors together. However, Cass's life with her husband is a bit strange. She treats him like one of her dogs. In fact, I just don't see the attraction between them. As for the dogs, the training routines that Cass exercises seem authentic and very informative.
The author does a wonderful job inserting the reader into the physical and emotional developments of this story. Sometimes they are gratifying and playful, sometimes they are tense and unpredictable. I felt like I was right there in the midst of the Canadian wilderness as Ms. Beals drew me down a path of mystery and revenge with a bit of a letdown when it seemed to end abruptly.
I recommend this suspense-filled thriller for dog lovers and naturalists alike who enjoy compelling characters with a twist.
Thank you to Ms. Beals for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
Emergence by Ellie Beams is set in the woods in Quebec. Thirteen year old Xavier quietly begins watching his neighbor Cass Hardwood. Cass is a dog trainer and Xavier finds himself memorised watching the puppies during their training. Eventually a sweet friendship forms between Cass, her relative Lori, and Xavier. What starts off as good friendship is put to the test as unforseen tragic danger lurks around them.
Being a major dog lover, this book really struck home. Ellie Beals vividly describes the characters and dogs in detail. The writing felt so real, I could imagine the scenes and the sweet smell of puppy breath!
Thank you to Ellie Beals and NetGalley for my free e-book in exchange for my honest review.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a bit of a slow burn. The writing style was straight forward and concise and the story easy to get into. Emergence focuses on a middle aged female and her life over a year training dogs in back country Canada. Her interactions with a local youth and her hot cousin are also integral to the plot. It's a pretty quick read and would definitely appeal to those wishing to sequester themselves in the northern wilderness.
I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks to the publisher and author for participating.
This is a thrilling read. Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start. Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable. Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously. Can't wait to read what the author brings out next. Recommend reading.
I read a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
This novel based on Ellie’s life in Canada is so well written and expressed that I could not put the book down! The storyline is poignant and compelling with brilliant description and insight. I do not want to include any spoilers in my review, but reading the back cover inspired me to delve into the book. Kudos to Ms. Beals in writing her first novel with passion, empathy, and vivid explanation. I am looking forward to reading her next work.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. There’s a young man trapped into a lifestyle by his father that begins to emerge into quite a lovely person. There are dogs beautiful dogs. There’s information about training a dog if you are so inclined. There’s danger, and friendship, and people who are not perfect.
Cass and Noah are dog trainers who purchase a cabin the woods around Quebec, Canada. Unknown to them, Xavier, a 13-year-old neighbor, begins “watching” them, their dogs and the coming and going of guests to their cabin. When Cass’s cousin Lori visits Xavier is infatuated and ensuing events begin to spiral out of control. If you love dogs this is a book for you. This is a well-paced thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. I received a free ARC from NetGalley, and the opinions expressed are my own.
What an interesting book! What a talented author. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this…the blurb sounded intriguing, but it felt as if there would be some “gray area” here in terms of right and wrong. I was right, but I wasn’t as conflicted as I might have been…
The book starts slowly, but I was never bored. The author weaved her words carefully and well, with strong descriptions and solid “showing” and not telling. I learned about each character–even the dogs!–in significant detail cleverly shared. I went into this thinking it would be an edge-of-your-seat thriller and it was, but it wasn’t. Honestly, I loved this book and didn’t think writing a review for it would be difficult, but it kind of is because this book wasn’t like the usual “thriller” I’ve read. That was a good thing, and interesting and definitely set this book apart from many others.
Add into this the aspect of dog training and having dogs as very real characters in this book…for a dog person like me, this added a level of interest that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. I’ve been deeply involved with dogs and dog training for years, and this story is very authentic in the way it portrays Cass and her dogs. I loved it.
Xavier was a tough character to pin down. At first, I felt as if he were older and maybe had a crush on Cass, but it turned out he was a young boy, early teens, but mature in a way many aren’t because of his very odd upbringing. Also interesting was the choice the author made to use first person POV for him and third for Cass.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot… I think the blurb does that well enough. But I will say this: from the moment I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I credit the talent of this author to slowly weave her tentacles around you until you’re completely hooked and can’t get loose from the story. Her descriptive and powerful writing is how I wish every book were written. She never forgets tiny details that make things real, and that can elicit a visceral response from the reader. I felt as if I were right there, in the Canadian wilds, living through each scene. I was fully invested in the characters and the story and was almost surprised when it was over.
Emergence was a slow, deep, wild ride that I’m glad I took. I’m ready for more from this author.
When I see the word “dogs” in a synopsis I am usually going to pick up a book and see what it might be about. I had no idea what I was going to experience. What an interesting book. There’s a little of everything here. A thriller and yet parts that make you feel empathetic and parts that make you smile. I’m not certain how to describe how this story is told. Some of it is by the main character Cass while another part is told by the boy, Xavier. It’s even as if the dogs tell a part of the story too. Nonetheless, sometimes when a book changes the POV it can be confusing. That wasn’t true here. Each character needed to tell a part of the story and it even came out more intense. As far as I can tell, this is a debut book for Ellie Beals. Hope we see some more.
This is a new author for me which I enjoyed from beginning to end. I look forward to seeing what is next for her. I enjoyed being pulled into the story by this author's attention to details as well as the creative characters. I found them to be relateable and I enjoyed how they brought the story to life on each page. They made the story fun, entertaining and engaging. This is a darker story that is about hope and revenge. This is a story that brought out different emotions for me which made me want to know more and kept me reading. I enjoyed the growth of the characters as well as the plot throughout the story. This is truly a great story that I really loved. I highly recommend this book.
Emergence intertwines the lives of Cass, a dog trainer who loves and trust dogs more than she does humans, Lori, Cass’s cousins, and then there is thirteen-year-old Xavier.
Cass has an isolated cabin in the woods that she likes to visit and go on hiking trails with her dogs and her friends. Cass likes getting away from everyone and everything. Cass is an outdoor person.
Thirteen-year-old Xavier lives alone in the woods with his dad. Xavier has always more or less taken care of himself. Xavier learns by watching his dad and how he does things and then when he is doing something he thinks about his dad and how he did something and applies it to his situation at the time.
Xavier likes to observe people like Jane Goodwin watching orangutans. He watches them without their knowledge. Xavier stalks and observes Cass and her friends while they are hiking. He likes watching Cass with her dogs.
I was very concerned with Xavier’s behavior of watching everyone. I kept wondering what was he up to. If he was up to anything or if it was all just a child’s curiosity. I couldn’t figure out why he was watching them like that but the more I read and the more of his story was revealed the more I was enlightened on his behavior.
When tragedy strikes I am more suspicious of Xavier’s behavior than ever. It had me wondering if Xavier was in any way involved with what happened. Who is this boy? Is he a good kid or a bad kid? Not to mention other events that happen in the woods. Did Xavier have anything to do with them? If not who did?
Emergence drew me in from the first page holding my attention all the way to the end. Emergence was vividly written in such a way that I felt as if I was right there hiking in the snow with Cass and her dogs. I could just see the snow, mountains, woods, and Cass’s cabin. I could see Cass working with the dogs and I could see the love she had for them.
I loved how good she was with the dogs. The way a person treats a dog tells me what kind of person they truly are and the way a dog reacts to a person lets me know what kind of person they are as well. If a dog likes a person then in most cases you can usually trust that person but not always.
If you like dogs then I believe you will fall in love with Emergence so pick up a copy and give it a try.
My thanks to the Author publisher's and NetGalley for providing me with a Kindle version of this book to read and honestly review. This is clever descriptive well written and always engaging story, a coming of age tale with believable plausible canine and human characters, set in Canada. Mostly an absorbing gentle tale of enjoying the beautiful countryside in all its aspects. However totally out of the blue from nowhere there are several surprising and shocking unexpected scenes of violence, that had me holding my breath. Recommended.
This was starting to be a very interesting book and I was enjoying what I was reading. I could see it developing into something I could really enjoy. Then at 25% Ms. Beals completely ruined it for me. There are three dogs who form an integral part of the story and Ms. Beals decided that she needed to rid herself of one of them. That was bad enough, but the way in which she did it (an animal trap clamped on Trinka's head) was unforgivable and I couldn't go any further. For those who don't bond to dogs quickly, this may be a great book, but it just isn't for me.
Cass, is a dog handler, when she goes to thw woods with her dogs she feels some one is watching her. Xavier is a young boy who meets Cass but why? what does he want or expect from her. Then there is Lori, Cass cousin. The book has many twists, I enjoyed reading this.