BOOK REVIEWS
Walking The Labyrinth
Publisher: Ylva Publishing
(June, 2013)
ISBN: 978-3955330521
 

Piercing Fiction: Straight Arrow Reviews - August 2014

Lois C. Hart does not issue books as frequently as some authors, but when she does have one come out the reader can be sure that it will be an interesting story that is well produced. Walking the Labyrinth continues that pattern.

The death of her wife from cancer has caused Lee Glenn to descend into a private hell where she doesn't eat, doesn't leave her house and has cut herself off from everything. Her life has come to a shocking halt until her friends finally stage an intervention and she is forced back into the world. Lee and her partner in a successful private security company decide she will take on a protection detail for a spoiled ex-model who says she is afraid of her husband. This should be an easy assignment to help Lee ease back into things because the client wants to return to a remote part of Canada where she was raised. Lee doesn't realize she is about to meet a unique group of people who are going to help restore her soul.

Lee Glenn, a woman in her sixties, is about to discover that there is life after disaster. Her guide on that trip will be Gaelle Germaine, the spoiled model's mystical, spiritual mother. Gaelle is building a labyrinth to help with her meditation and she coaxes Lee into helping her with the job. Lee thinks spiritualism is "hooey," but Gaelle is fascinating. Just as feelings develop between them, Lee discovers something about Gaelle that is horrifying and it causes her to flee from what can only be more pain. Lee isn't the same person however and she cannot forget what she has learned from Gaelle. Now the question is, is she strong enough to follow a new sense of being?

Where to start with the wonderful things about this book? First, the story is about older characters. This is particularly enjoyable in a genre that seems to be dominated by younger people who are just beginning the lessons that older women have completed. The book also has a very appealing spiritual quality to it. It doesn't advocate any particular system, but opens the reader to probing thoughts and questions that can be pondered outside of the book. The characters are also interesting. Many people have known someone who has been destroyed by the tragedies of life. They also know that calm, reassuring person who seems to radiate wisdom from a place deep inside. These are the people you want to be like when you meet them, if you can just figure out how they developed that state of being. And all of this is wrapped up in a story that is completely understandable. No convoluted vocabulary or esoteric ideas that confuse the reader and get in the way of the message.

Lois Hart isn't finished writing yet, but Walking the Labyrinth may turn out to be her magnum opus. If so, she couldn't hope for any better.

This is a highly recommended book. Read it and prepare to go on a journey of your own discovery.

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Lesbian Fiction Reviews - August 2013

Walking the Labyrinth by Lois Cloarec Hart is one of those lesbian novels that put a smile on your face when you finish it because it's, at the same time, sweet, deep and full of wonderful messages about life, love, loss and second opportunities.

This book is about a travel, Lee's travel from a heartbreaking loss to live again when she thinks there's nothing left for her after having lost what she loved most. That way, we meet Lee, the co-founder of DeGroot and Glenn security, when she's devastated for Dana's death. As anyone who has lost someone important you'll see yourself in her and will understand her desperation, her emptiness.

One last gift from her beloved Dana makes Lee understand that she can't go on like that, that there are a lot of people who love her and need her, that she has to keep living, honoring the huge love she shared with the fantastic woman who was taken from her so soon.

As the most important things in life, her new opportunity comes from the last person Lee would think, a spoiled brat around her thirties who's running from her husband. Lee, moved for something beyond her, accepts the job and accompanies Britten to Donegal, where her family live and her abusive husband won't find her. Lee will soon discover that the story Britten has told it's not exactly what really happened between her and her husband but this is the last of Lee's problems. In Donegal she'll find a kind of peace she thought she had lost with Dana's death, she'll feel that she fits again in the world, and all that thanks to an eclectic woman who talks about young and old souls, reincarnation and signals from those who had died long ago, their way to stay in contact. A humble and wise woman who's constructing a labyrinth and talks with the local mad man about future as if it'd be the most normal thing to do. What can a woman like Lee, who only believes in what she sees, who's lost in her pain, do with this kind of woman? Listen, learn, heal, accept the nasty things of life and go on.

Lee is the main character but, in my opinion, Gaëlle is the light that enlightens her path, the clue for her to heal. Having suffered herself and knowing exactly what is to lose those who you love most, Gaëlle will show Lee a new world full of second chances, chances full of promises, only if she's brave enough to face the worst of her fears again.

Walking the Labyrinth by Lois Cloarec Hart is a fantastic story, a great surprise and exactly what I'm looking for when I pick a book because of its deep plot with characters that I understand, in whom I can see myself and whose lives I live through the pages. People full of love who walk the long path of life with hope, cherishing its gifts and suffering when one of these gifts is taken from them.

Sometimes, not very often, an excellent book like this comes to your hands and you just can enjoy it fully. I've read that Lois Cloarec Hart isn't a prolific author but if her others books are like this one, it's worth waiting.

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Affinity Reviews by Terry - August 2013

Co-owner of a private security company, Lee Glenn, is grieving for her wife Dana. She can't see any end to her suffering. Her life is over, just as surely as Dana's is. A year later and Lee is still locked away from her family, friends and colleagues, hiding out in her basement rooms. Lee's family and friends intervene with a message from beyond the grave, giving Lee the shake up she needed.

Lee is back at work and beginning to turn her life around. She isn't convinced she can just pick up her life again and carry on. But Lee's business partner, Willem, knows different.

At Willem's urging, Lee takes on a private protection job, which takes her away from the memories of her loss, to the beginning of a new life.

Lee meets many different people along the way. Probably the strangest person she meets is Wrong-Way Wally. A harmless, colorful oracle, who is shunned by most of the small town because of his way out speech and way of life. It appears the only person who can understand and translate Wally's predictions is Gaëlle, his life long best friend.

Gaëlle herself appears at first to Lee to be strange. She seems to have a connection to the afterlife. Although Lee pushes aside Gaëlle's beliefs as hooey, is it possible there is some truth in them?

Lee becomes attracted to Gaëlle, but will she allow herself to open up to the possibility of love again? What if loving again should cause even more pain? Will Lee have the courage to stay for the course and find out? Or will she run back home to her safe, but lonely, miserable existence?

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written story. I liked that the two main characters, Lee and Gaëlle, are multidimensional, mature in age and there is an actual story here as well as a romance. Once I began the story, there was no putting it down. The book is a page turner from start to finish. Lee and Gaëlle are backed up with some unforgettable characters throughout. All playing their parts to perfection to progress the story forward.

There are a lot of emotions running high throughout. Highs and lows of love and love lost and prejudices. But amongst all the emotions, there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, the end of anguish and loneliness. That's if Lee will allow herself to be open to the possibility and taking a chance of loving a second time, if it's offered. It's this journey that makes the book into the exciting and enjoyable story it is.

I can't say my beliefs are those of Gaëlle and Wally, but it made for very interesting reading and added an enjoyable aspect to the book.

I've added Lois Cloarec Hart to my list of authors to watch out for. I like her style of writing and look forward to more soon.

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When I was sent a copy of Walking the Labyrinth, put out by Ylva Publishing, I was very intrigued by the description. I'll share it here for you.

Is there life after loss? Lee Glenn, co-owner of a private security company, didn't think so. Crushed by grief after the death of her wife, she uncharacteristically retreats from life.

But love doesn't give up easily. After her friends and family stage a dramatic intervention, Lee rejoins the world of the living, resolved to regain some sense of normalcy but only half-believing that it's possible. Her old friend and business partner convinces her to take on what appears on the surface to be a minor personal protection detail.

The assignment takes her far from home, from the darkness of her loss to the dawning of a life reborn. Along the way, Lee encounters people unlike any she's ever met before: Wrong-Way Wally, a small-town oracle shunned by the locals for his off-putting speech and mannerisms; and Wally's best friend, Gaëlle, a woman who not only translates the oracle's uncanny predictions, but who also appears to have a deep personal connection to life beyond life. Lee is shocked to find herself fascinated by Gaëlle, despite dismissing the woman's exotic beliefs as "hooey."

But opening yourself to love also means opening yourself to the possibility of pain. Will Lee have the courage to follow that path, a path that once led to the greatest agony she'd ever experienced? Or will she run back to the cold comfort of a safer solitary life?

That really does sum up the book pretty well. There were a few things that made me want to read this book. The main characters were older, Lee had experienced the type of loss that scares the crap out of me, and there's some mysticism mixed in there, too. And, overall, I wasn't disappointed. The first half or so of the book is dealing the the assignment that takes Lee away from home and gives her and Gaëlle the opportunity to develop their friendship. The second half of the book was, for me, much more engaging and interesting. Although, I do admit to shedding a few tears in the first chapter.

There were a couple of things that pulled me out of the story a bit but they're probably not things that most people will care about. I'm pretty picky about dialogue and some of the conversations felt more scripted than natural. They still allowed me to connect with and learn about the characters so, again, it's likely not to be a big deal to anyone other than folks who focus strongly on conversational exchanges. The only other thing I want to mention that bothered me is that the group of characters that are in their very early 30?s seemed to be closer to 16 in their actions and speech. At first I thought it was just one character but then there was a whole group of them and they all seemed to have the mentality and emotional responses of teenagers. It just didn't ring true to me. But, again, that's in the first half of the book and I quickly forgot about them once they were gone.

Overall, I liked the book and think that lovers of romance novels - particularly folks looking for older protagonists and/or mysticism - will enjoy it, too.

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