Winter Haven Fiction Review : 2008/04/21
by Athol Dickson
Bloomington: Bethany House, 2008, 333 pp., hardcover.
Athol Dickson has become one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction. Like his prior novel, The Cure
, Winter Haven
takes place in Maine. Although Dixon is a bearded male, he writes in the first person as a single woman named Vera Gamble and manages to pull it off.
Vera is the daughter of a former faith healer who was unable to heal his only son. Siggy was autistic, but had savant abilities. Although obsessed with Vikings, he memorized the King James Version of the Bible, and spoke only in Scripture quotations. His father then realized he could use Siggy as a prophet in his meetings, and family relationships rapidly deteriorated after that.
The story begins with an adult Vera traveling to the island of Winter Haven, where the body of her brother has washed up on the beach 13 years after he disappeared as a teenager. When she arrives, things start to get really strange. Ghostly figures in the mist, haunted forests and strange townspeople leave Vera wondering if she's losing her sanity. The fact that Siggy's body looks unchanged from the day he left home doesn't help.
Dickson does a wonderful job of portraying a person struggling with their view of life and God as circumstances get both bizarre and terrifying.
I give Winter Haven
my highest rating.
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