Barbara M. Hodges
Six months after Isabelle Allen's husband dies in bed with his latest lover, she is bombarded by her well-meaning friends attempt to hook her up with any eligible male. They just can't accept that she doesn't want another man in her life. As far as Isabelle is concerned love was for fools.
In exasperation Isabelle packs her car, loads up her basset hound Sammi-Sue, her cat Longfellow and all three escape to Baja, Mexico.
Baja, on the Sea of Cortez, beautiful beaches, long walks, vermillion sunsets and hours of time for Isabelle to re-discover her love of weaving. It's a good plan, except for two things. An stubborn ghost who has fixated on Isabelle as a answer to her loneliness and Cristiano Casamiro. A fifteen-years-younger, Latino geologist specializing in volcanoes who has his own biases against Americanos. Cristiano is a man who makes her temper flare, her emotions flame and her heart sing.
Isla Santa Maria
Sea of Cortez. Baja, Mexico
The woman sitting on the rock shifted, rubbed at her chilled arms. Above the island the sun rode high in the sky, but its rays did nothing to soothe the constant cold inside her. A sharp cry made her look up. Two ravens rode the currents in a dance of love, the sun reflecting from their blue-black wings. She saw them often, felt as if they watched her and waited...for what she did not know.
The woman bowed her head.
“I have a love. Why doesn’t he come for me?”
The man she remembered, tall, sandy-haired, with an ever ready smile; a veil across her mind blocked all else.
I am to stay. I am to wait. He will return for me. I must be here. If not he will never find me again.
The women knew she had a life before the time she awoke upon the island. She dropped her head onto her raised knees, sought again to shred the barrier, but it held fast and trapped her in a misery of loss.
She lifted her head, stared across the sea to the other beach. A cluster of houses stood there. When the woman had first awoke, she hoped her love was there. Yes, he had told her to wait, but if he were so close....
At first the woman thought she would have to swim and fear had paralyzed her. She did not want to venture into the sea, but she found she could ride the wind, like the butterflies she loved to sculpt. Deep, in a distant part of her mind, she knew she should not be able to do this, but she had pushed the thought away.
I am different now. I am reborn. My love will understand. This experience has changed me, but love still burns strong within me.
When she had landed upon the far beach and walked upon the sand, it was to find her love was not there. In a panic she had raced back to the island. What if he’d come for her while she was gone?
The woman stood. Was that it? Is that what happened? He came for me and I was not here? She wrapped her arms around her middle.
I should have stayed as he told me to. But he will come once more, as he promised he would. Until then I will wait. I will never journey so far that I cannot return to my island. Never. Not until he comes for me.
A movement to her right caught her eye and she turned. On the sand below, a snake slithered. It slowed, flicked out its tongue in her direction and came onward. The woman still marveled at the lack of fear the inhabitants of the island showed toward her...it was if she did not exist. The only ones who paid her any mind were the two ravens... and the dolphins.
She lifted her hand to shade her eyes and searched the sea. Yes, the dolphins were there, two of them swimming back and forth. The woman felt as if they also watched. At first they had come closer, danced upon their tails, and chattered at her. She did not understand them, but felt they urged her to action.
Once in frustration she had screamed. “What? What do you want from me?”
They chattered louder, leaped higher and in a rage she had sent a stone flying toward them using only the power of her mind. The flying rock had shocked her, but the spark of warmth her anger ignited had filled her with pleasure.
For the rest of the day she’d picked up rock after rock with her mind, tossed them here and there. But she could not summon the anger to bring her the warmth, for she had no past to draw upon. Yet, she craved the heat and used what memories she had at times that allowed her wrath at the man to grow. He who had left her on this island with an urgent command.
“Wait for me. I’ll come back for you.”
Yet the woman feared to give in to the need too often. What if anger swallowed the memories that remained?
The dolphins still came but kept further from the beach.
The woman stood. “When he comes for me, this numbness will vanish. I will feel again.”
She turned to look down at the sea. The various shades of blue and green called to her. In her heart she knew she’d once formed such beauty, but she couldn’t remember how or when it had been.
“Come for me, my love,” she whispered to the waves. “Come for me. I am so tired of waiting.”
A Spiral of Echoes
A Spiral of Echoes
Barbara M. Hodges and Maggie Pucillo
Print ISBN: 978-0-9840836-6-4
E-book ISBN: 978-0-9840836-7-1
Review by Margaret Marr
About 460 Words
One of the things I like best about reading e-books, is that sometimes I know I’m going to get something that falls outside the accepted guidelines for fiction—something that doesn’t totally follow the rules. A Spiral of Echoes is one such e-book.
Three years ago, during a storm, a boat capsized off the coast of the Sea of Cortez near Baja , Mexico . One man survived, one woman died, and another woman went missing—presumed to have drowned. Now the Lost One waits on the island of Isla Santa Maria for her love to come back for her—he promised he would. But it’s been so long and she grows weary of the wait.
Isabelle Allen’s cheating husband dies of a heart attack while with his latest conquest. Isabelle feels very little at his passing (except for a sense that she’s finally free), but she needs to get away and figure out what’s next. So, six months after she buries Donald, she heads to Baja , Mexico with her cat, Longfellow, and basset hound, Sammi-Sue.
Once in Mexico , she encounters what she thinks is a very confused, injured, and frightened woman wandering around on Isla Santa Maria, but before she can get help, the woman disappears. Unfortunately, Isabelle has attracted a disturbed ghost’s attention who feels that Isabelle is the key to bringing her love back to rescue her. When she can’t get Isabelle to cooperate, she becomes increasingly more violent.
When Isabelle discovers the Lost One is the ghost of a girl who disappeared after a boating accident, she tries to figure out how to help her before the ghost’s violence leads to something much more serious and tears apart the chances Isabelle has with a new love.
Spiral of Echoes blends together a romance, ghost story, and mainstream plot to make a heady stew of invigorating flavors. Colorful characters add a touch of lavishness to an already prolific plot. The authors also bring Baja , Mexico to brilliant life; I found myself wanting to plan a vacation to that very spot and explore the islands and local folklore.
At times, though, I kept wishing Isabelle would encounter the ghost by herself more often, with more frightening elements added in to create a creepier atmosphere—kind of like the ghost in Gothika who haunted Halle Berry’s character.
Still, with its intriguing storyline, Spiral of Echoes kept me turning pages. I was curious as to whether the ghost was really a ghost—for a while there, it could have went either way and still been plausible.
Want something that falls just outside the norm? Spiral of Echoes is definitely an excellent choice.
A Spiral of Echoes
A SPIRAL OF ECHOES
BARBARA M. HODGES and MAGGIE PUCILLO
ISBN # Unavailable
Rating: 5 cups
Recovering from a marriage that left both her heart and bed empty, master weaver Isabelle travels to her home in the baja to escape attempts to play matchmaker by well-meaning friends. Isabelle just needs a little time to herself to weave and recharge her batteries. She never planned on the ghost or the younger man who come in and light a passion that she has been craving all along.
Living in a world rich in romance and mystery, Cristiano Casamiro is a scientist who is studying the fiery depths of the active volcano. While out fishing on his panga, he finds the half naked gringa and fishes her, and a need that he finds nearly overwhelming, out of the sea.
Together and with the help of friends, they must free the spirit that haunts the island. As the stakes go higher and the volcano heats up, the fire within them burns…and a Spiral of Echoes threatens to pull them all to their deaths.
A ghost story more cleverly told than any I have read for a long time, Spiral of Echoes is rich in local texture and flavor as well as being an edge-of-your–seat thriller in turns. The tension between the main characters literally burns off the page as fiery as the weavings Isabelle creates. Passion flows through the pages of this eerie tale and will leave you shivering while you feel the hot sun beat on your flesh as if you were standing on the beach looking up and waiting, like the ghost, for your love to return…
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
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