Sunday, January 13, 2013

SRPS Bookshelf - Finding Gaia

About a year ago, one of the truly awesome women I follow on G+ posted a link to her ebook, Finding Gaia, and on a whim I bought it. I downloaded it to my Kindle, and then pretty much relegated it to my virtually teetering ebook stack, which rivals the teetering stack of actual books on my bedside table, only easier to ignore. But even though it wasn't blocking my ability to see the surface of my nightstand, it was always there in my brain, nagging me to read it. I mean, with this kind of warning, who wouldn't want to dive right in?
I started reading the book last summer. While it was enjoyable, it was slow going at first. Not because it was boring, but because it was summer, and my already slow reading pace was even slower. I don't read as much in the summer (due to a combination of vacation activities and a distinct reduction in hot soaking bedtime baths), as I do during the rest of the year. Whole weeks would go by before I was able to visit with the folks in Truitt mansion. Sadly, "during the rest of the year" means school-time, which comes with all kinds of reading of its own. So,while I continued reading, I could only spare a half hour or so a couple of times a week. Even with frequent breaks in reading, the story was compelling and was always lingering at the back of my mind. I found myself wondering what Trish and Anna would think about different things I came across during a day. For the first time in a long while, the characters of the book were like invisible people who escaped the story and were running amok in the world.

Which isn't half wrong. Trish has her own blog and G+ page: EcoSnark

Anyway... what's this book about? Good question. When describing it to friends, I wind up saying something like, "it's a feminist environmentalist love story mystery drama, with lots of laughs." And, well, that pretty much sums it up.

The book starts out a bit quietly, building as we meet kind, gentlemanly Jason, tough-as-nails, in-your-face with a razor sharp sense of humor, eco-feminist Trish, and quiet, plugged-in, very modern Don, and learn about their quest to find a mysterious woman they refer to as Gaia.
Wealthy, handsome Jason Truitt appears to have it all: he runs an international conglomerate of environmental businesses and research facilities, he lives in a luxurious mansion…and he can’t die. But his uncanny health and failure to age keep him distanced from normal human life. For over a century he’s been searching for the one other person on earth he suspects is afflicted with the same condition. Like him, she has lived under many different names to keep her immortality secret, so in honour of her supernatural ability to induce plant growth by thought alone, he thinks of her as Gaia.  
Finding Gaia, however, is only the beginning, for where he has used his talents toward prosperity, hers have brought loss, isolation, abduction, and unspeakable torture. She will need all that he can give to reclaim her own inner strength and rediscover who, what, and when she is.
We get to see Trish reacting to having a very different type of woman in her personal space, and learning how to be accepting and supportive, in her own way. And we get to see Jason working to create a better world, out there, as well as in his own home. But the sweetest part of the story is watching Anna adjusting to living in a safe environment, with new people, new technology, and new challenges. Sure, she's got a severe case of culture- and time-shock, but it's so much more than that. She's been hunted and hurt, she's had to hide her secret from everyone she has ever loved, and lived in constant fear and dread. Now, for the first time in several centuries, she finds herself in a place where she can rest, relax a bit, and begin to explore her own power.

Which isn't to say this part of the book is boring. Quite the contrary. Confused, shrinking violet Anna begins to branch out, so to speak, first taking on the task of tending the garden, and getting to know the people she's living with. Very quickly we see her stretching herself, learning how to use her power to create a better world, and exploring her relationships with the other housemates, especially Jason. The somewhat formal courtship of Jason and Anna is anachronistic for the present setting, which makes it all the sweeter. There are lots of slow waltzes and longing looks, shy smiles and tentative hands touching. And shared secrets -- not all of them innocuous or pleasant.

It seems that in their 500 years of existence, both Jason and Anna have had to face the terrible side of their special powers. Jason was a former soldier, using his ability to overpower the enemy. After the war, he worked as an assassin -- a distant period in his very long life that still has the power to shame him.

Even in the luxurious haven Jason has worked so hard to create for himself and Anna, there's a nagging fear that something terrible is waiting just outside. And, as we learn, we were right to worry. Without getting too spoiler-ish, I'll just say that what- or whomever is hunting Anna doesn't stop hunting her just because she went into hiding in the Truitt mansion. But I will also say that Anna is stronger than she first appears. By the end, we see her finally coming to terms with her immense power. And she really is awe-some.

As an indication of how the end of this book had me on pins and needles, I will admit that I spent far too many nights sitting in a no-longer-hot bath, clicking "next page" over and over and over, ignoring the hundreds of pages I should have been reading for class. I had been so disciplined early in the semester, but fell off completely after [spoiler redacted] happened. I just had to know what was going to happen and how it would all turn out!

And then, at the end, there's a final scene that hints at a sequel. With more interesting characters and untold adventures and happenings! It's all I can do to not PM Kimberly Chapman every day, asking her when I'll know what happens in the next book!

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1 comment :

  1. I've been looking for a new book to download onto my Kindle for when I go to the hospital, and I'm thinking this might be it! It sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. :)