Brae McKenzie: Ken Atchity
Within our lives we need to find something that allows us to feel fulfilled, filled up and needed. This is often difficult especially when we lose someone we love and feel that we cannot go on the same way as before. Brae is facing a crossroads in her life with the loss of her husband Tom and is having difficulty dealing with the realities of life, her career as a well- known painter, her friendships and self-worth. Even with the coaxing of her best friend who also faced the same loss and is moving on with her life, her friend Jason and her father Davis, Brae seems lost in a mist that she cannot seem to see through or even allow to lift. Brae is finding everyday life hard and even looking at herself in the mirror or setting up the mirrors to focus on her image while painting others seems too hard for her. When her father presents her with a family heirloom and a treasure map it’s to help her move ahead and find herself as she begins reading her grandmother’s words, decides on a new path and what happens when she leaves the security of her home and takes that fateful train to Glasgow will either make her realize who she really is or turn her back into someone she is not.
Greeted by a man named Damon who became her guide, friend and mentor in a sense guiding her through the many sites, teaching her to enjoy the scenery the blush mountains, the food and learning about her grandmother, Brae began feeling alive again and was starting to realize that life is more than feeling sorry for yourself. Damon seems like a spirit from another world as the author focuses on several vital issues that many often pass over: fear of being alone, not being able to focus on life after losing someone and thinking you have lost yourself and who you are at the same time, moving ahead and finding a new passion in what you do in your life. Brae is about to attend a special gallery opening and within this opening perhaps she will find her way.
Brae is a prominent and successful San Francisco painter who seems to have lost her lust for life and often reflects on her childhood and past with sadness and grief. Her ability to create special scenes and paintings does not seem to fill the emptiness in her life and losing Tom seems to have made it worse. Hoping that she will find her way her father hands her a family heirloom and she sets off for an exhibit in England and is about to read a letter from her grandmother hoping to awaken her:”Since you are still among the living, your heart is not broken…follow the map,” Brae reads, “to Scotland.” But, the exhibit in London does not ignite her and she decides to go to Glasgow where she meets Damon. Her love of life just might be rekindled and the beauty, love and fame that she had before will need time to fill her up again. Imagine having it all and being envied yet feeling nothing within yourself. The author allows readers to take a ride inside the mind of Brae, illuminating her fears, her joys and allowing us into her mind and thoughts. Her destiny was Scotland and Damon just might be the answer as he recounts information about her grandmother, legends and stories and introduces her to life you might say.
With Damon she sees the world in a different light and begins to understand what is and what needs to be done.
Why had lightning struck? What is the meaning of the Oak and how is it the foundation of her grandmother’s house and the world in which Damon has now shared with her? Why was he chosen to take her on this journey and why did she have to see the Moor burned? In the past there were two oaks. The two the author states were one. They needed two trees like the twaesum aik of these diminished times. “ The line of wisdom was one with the line of life.” “Change is change.” The silver acorn that her father gave her before starting this journey had to be hurled away as she watched disappear as the ritual offering. Her world changed with Damon and now will Brae find the real inner Brae? Within Chapter 12 at the end the author shares the meanings of What and why and the reasons why What is more important than why! Her grandmother’s fate was revealed as he explains why she never married her lover and the reasons why she did not want to inflict any pain on him or sorrow. Two people meet and join forces together to unravel the mystery of a simple letter. The intertwining of their families from the past and the present just might help Brae understand her pain, face it and release the hold that Tom has her in the present and find her way out of the dark and into the light. The link between her grandmother and his grandfather is revealed and their fates sealed in their own way. How they proved their love for each other is breathtaking as Damon describes their passion on page 132 for readers. What happens at the end will allow readers to understand that dreams come true when you least expect them to and your world as Brae’s will change an take you into a different direction as the fire and trees surround them. When she finally digs down deep into the earth and uncovers the treasure that the map brought them to you won’t believe what she finds, the meaning and the significance of the word Lovers and who the treasure belonged to and how it might bond both Brae and Damon. But, will the magic last? The history of the area in Scotland, the food prepared bringing the area closer to the reader and Brae and the determination of two people to understand the meaning of what their grandparents started in order to bring them to where they hoped they might be. Will she finally find her way out of the dark and into the light? Brae McKenzie: You decide her final fate as you open the pages of this book meet her and take the journey into a world so magical you might get lost there along with her and never want to return.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine