Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Donna Varnes - The Cove

The Cove
by Donna Varnes

Paperback through Amazon

Product Description (from Amazon)
The Cove is a story within a story. Destiny Dawn, a fantasy writer, is duped into buying beach-front property contaminated by a toxic spill. The reader enters into her fantasy world full of mermaids, sand fairies and water babies, and their dilemmas, as she writes her novel. Meanwhile, Destiny's own life is becoming more and more bizarre and confusing. Why does the handsome marine biologist show up looking like one of the characters she invented? Why do the Iranians want her balding cat? And why does a black Mercedes keep following her? Does she just have an over-active imagination, or are the chemicals causing hallucinations and paranoia?

About the Author (from Amazon)
Born in Billings Montana, Donna Varnes and her husband, Ed have traveled through every state and ten countries, and consider all of the USA as "home." She and her husband of 41 years, have six children and 17 grandchildren. Donna considers their remote forty-acre homestead near Denali National Park, as her "nest." There they experienced the real Alaska by living in a small cabin, home-schooling their children, and using sled dogs in their everyday living. It was also the inspiration for several of her short-stories published in the Anchorage Daily News and Mushing Magazine. Donna earned an Associates Degree in Christian Ministries from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, as well as an AAS in Developmental Disabilities from Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, Alaska, where she started writing The Cove. She also completed a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Kendra

      When handed this book by my Grandfather a year or so back, I was intrigued first by the cover, and secondly by the description of it being a story within a story. I was curious as to what that meant. I soon found out. Destiny Dawn is a Fantasy author, and you get to read portions of her book, which is set in the contaminated cove in front of which Destiny has just been duped into buying a house. The story she writes obviously draws heavily on her real life – but then she starts seeing the characters from her books! Whether these are hallucinations due to the toxic water she lives next to, or whether her book characters are actually coming to life … you’re never quite sure, as the evidence goes both ways.
      As an author myself, I found myself really relating to Destiny. She suffered writer’s block – often – and was really disturbed by her characters coming to life. While it is every author’s dream (well, for many authors), how would we react if they actually did come to life? I also loved her refusal to use her real name (it’s not really Destiny Dawns!) and the fact that, on a whim, she bought a fairy costume and would wear it to write in.
      Of course, there was some romance – in Destiny’s real life. The problem is, she’s scared of him as he looks just like a sketch she did of one of her characters and the first time she sees him, he’s in a special suit to protect him from the toxic chemicals. Even after she gets over being scared of him (which takes a while) she still gets mad at him almost every day. There was practically none (romance, that is) in the book she’s writing (a fact she notes herself).
      And then, there’s the cat she finds and names My Tom, who is going bald (she knits a sweater for him as a result, another thing I liked about her) and she is convinced that the terrorists that she’s seen are after him.
      It’s not quite clear if Destiny is a Christian or not, but I assume that she is, as one of the main human characters in her story returns to Christianity after running from it so long. My problem with that, however, is with putting it with the “made-up” part of the book, it might make the readers think that that, too, was made up.
     All in all, I liked it, especially Destiny’s antics.

Note: There were some issues with the formatting of the book. Some sentences and paragraphs were bold for seemingly no reason and quotation marks were often pointing the wrong direction (and attached to the wrong word) or missing altogether, and I would have preferred the book to have been single-spaced rather than double spaced.

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Fantasy, Christian
Reading Level: TEEN - upper elementary to middle school
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language
Sexuality: NONE – unless you count the fact that the mermaids are hinted to not wear clothing.
Other: Jake does stick Destiny with a sedative needle and takes her to the hospital against her will.

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