“Between Darkness and Light” by Susan Schachterle

Between Darkness and Light

Maggie O’Hara is an unhappy teenager with boring, unsympathetic parents. Then her grandmother arrives from Ireland to stay with them, and gives Maggie a new name–Kate–and a new view on life. Through her grandmother’s stories, Kate find out about their ancestor Caitlyn Murphy, with whom they both feel a strange kinship. When tragedy strikes, Kate travels to Ireland to find out more about her great-great-grandmother, and discover what pulls them to each other.

“Between Darkness and Light” is a beautiful story of cross-generational connections between women. Kate’s blossoming under her grandmother’s care, and the closeness she feels with other women whom she encounters, is lovely, and not something that features as much as perhaps it should in most books. The plot is on some levels rather obvious, so that I guessed some of the things that would happen before they actually did, but the story was still compelling enough, largely because Kate was such a sympathetic character, that I had to keep reading in order to find out of my guesses had been correct. The book is quite short, and focused more on the ideas behind it than on the narrative structure (which is nonetheless complex, with flashbacks and foreshadowing). This can mean that sometimes it jumps past important events as if they were unimportant events, but also makes it both a quick and a thought-provoking read for those interested in exploring the spiritual side of intergenerational connections. It’s left up in the air right until the very end if the supernatural elements to the story are real or imagined, so that this is sort of a tale of the fantastic, and sort of a family drama. All this taken together means that “Between Darkness and Light” is an unusual book, but one that I found unexpectedly enjoyable.

My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Buy link: Amazon

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