The Wind in the Woods, by Rose Senehi
Publisher: Canterbury House Publishing
Author Rose Senehi moved from Upstate New York to the Carolinas in 1996, and is known for weaving environmental themes into her plots. Her title, In the shadows of Chimney Rock, was nominated for the 2009 SIBA Book Award by the Southern Independent Bookseller's Alliance. Other titles include: Windfall, Shadows in the Grass, and Pelican Watch.
Charismatic widower Tiger Morrison has spent a lifetime operating a youth camp in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. His one regret is letting Katie Warlick, his cook and friend at camp, go years before. Recently having broken off a long-time relationship with Liz, and with Katie going through a divorce, it seems as if fate is opening the door for them again. It would also appear as if his daughter Sammy may find her true love in fellow camp director, Patrick. Amidst the busy life at Camp Green River, one boy stands out from the rest, as little Alvin learns lessons in freedom. But this season is unlike all others. Tiger is in the fight of his life to save the precious Blue Ridge from land developers who could care less what their plans will do for the beauty around them. Plus, there is a killer lose, and he's coming closer to home than anyone suspects.
This book is listed as a romantic suspense, but is really more appropriate as women's fiction with romantic suspense elements.
There were quite a few things about this book that stood out as bothersome, which may be more personal preference than anything. First being that every character in the book had a point of view, vastly taking away the emotion of the main characters. Second, the romance involved was secondary to major events in the present, without any time for the characters to recover. It moved too swiftly to be realistic. Third, the suspense angle really had no bearing on the plot until the end. It felt like a side-note. In saying that, I understand the author's intention of emphasizing the dangers in hiking alone, basing this off actual events, but it didn't work for me. Perhaps involving the child, Alvin, or threats to Sammy earlier, but not as is.
What I loved about this book is that it takes you back to childhood and all the carefree possibilities life has ahead. Those tight-knit youth camps and all the friendships forged. This is also an author who knows her setting. The scenery jumps out at you and grabs hold, allowing you to feel, taste, smell, hear, and see everything portrayed. I also stand by the environmental message of what land developing can do to a beautiful ecosystem if we humans aren't careful.
Author and Reviewer,