Monday, October 01, 2007

"Lost & Found" - Jacqueline Sheehan

You're right. It was the cover that did it. But how could anyone resist?

I didn't have high expectations for "Lost & Found". In fact, the sweetness of the cover made me anticipate a watered down novel, targeted at busy women in need of a weekend book.

In fact, Jacqueline Sheehan's was surprisingly profound.

The synopsis might suggest light-lit (of which there is nothing wrong with, per se) but the writer's eye for character detail delivers a lot more.

Rocky is a 38 year-old psychologist who is delivered a terrible blow: her husband dies of a heart attack and she, a trained lifeguard, is unable to revive him through CPR.
Unable to slip quietly into widowhood, she leaves her old life behind and moves to a small island where she takes up a post as animal control warden, not disclosing to anyone her past occupation and tragedy.
Enter a big black lab, with a serious arrow injury and in serious need of a foster home.
Here's where I thought it would get sappy - dog saves girl through undying love etc.
But even though Lloyd the dog ends up saving a lot of characters, Sheehan never gets sickly sweet.
Instead we are treated to a valuable insight into the hearts and minds of the female characters. And between Rocky's panic attacks, her teenage neighbour's anorexia and her older girlfriend's fear of death we get a whole spectrum of women's complicated relationships with themselves, women and men, their bodies and food.
That Sheehan is a psychotherapist can only have helped with these portrayals, which are, to my mind the strong suit of "Lost & Found".
The mystery that surrounds Lloyd's injury, the thriller in which it develops, Rocky's interest in archery, and the fumbling way in which she develops a love interest are also very well achieved - but they are the icing in this very chocolaty, perfect comfort reading with a twist book.

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