Monday, April 23, 2012

The Understory-Elizabeth Leiknes

The Understory

Elizabeth Leiknes

Bancroft, Jun 1 2012, $21.99

ISBN: 9781610880497

Twenty-nine years old Story Easton knows she is a total failure who recently has had a compulsion to break into homes at night in order to pretend to be someone else rather than her unremarkable life. She sleeps in their beds before sneaking out early in the morning.

Story enters the home of Martin Baxter, an author and botanist. She realizes he is very sad as his wife Katherine and their daughter Hope are dead. He once wrote “Once Upon a Moonflower” in which Hope was the narrator and star.

The next night Story enters the home of eight year old Cooper Payne and his therapist mom Claire who grieve the loss of his dad, her husband. Each night Claire reads “Once Upon a Moonflower” to her son while he holds a wooden umbrella. Story realizes there are people worse off than she is as Cooper considers ending it if he does not see the Amazon rainforest where the moonflower can be found by the time he turns nine. Story leaves later than usual but runs into Hans Turner, repairing the Payne door; he kisses her. Encouraged by an Ouija board, Story decides to help Cooper with his dream of visiting the enchanted land that Hope told. She starts her quest by contacting the author.

This is a fabulous whimsical tale starring an intriguing individual trying to succeed at something she believes is worthwhile, saving the life of a grieving child; for the first time in a long time, Story knows failure is unacceptable. The entertaining storyline is filled with irony, humor, pathos and a major coincidence that foster the concept that there are no degrees of separation as everyone is linked to everyone in some manner.

Harriet Klausner

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