Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Maelstrom by @FrancisGuenette #Suspense

Today’s team review is from Karen, she blogs at

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Karen has been reading Maelstrom by Francis Guenette


My Opinion

This book introduces you to a variety of complex characters: some rather harmless, some greedy and dangerous and some downright evil.

With Maelstrom, Francis Guenette has created a thrilling suspense story with local flair. The story comprises a broad variety of believable and pretty complex characters, isolated locations, masterly woven situations and interesting interactions. I had a thrilling time reading Maelstrom – it is a very intriguing read. I was drawn into the story right away, thankfully invisible! It is up to the reader who to trust and who to fear; don’t be afraid of changing your take on things along the way! This is for you if you like thrilling suspense with twists and local flair and situations seemingly to real for comfort.

A suspenseful book to read again – by a writer with a unique writing style.


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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MAELSTROM by @FrancisGuenette #Thriller

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Cathy has been reading and reviewing Maelstrom by Francis Guenette


When Sheriff Bert Calder comes to tell Amos Tanner, the Mayor of Haddon, that Gracie Davison is dead, Amos’ wife Laura is eavesdropping on the conversation. She is sure her husband and the Sheriff have something to do with it. Laura knew Gracie from before she came to live in Haddon and is almost certain now who is responsible for all the bad things that happen in town. Her stepson Casey is running wild and Laura promises herself she’ll leave and take Casey with her. Casey experiences visions and dreams, able to ‘see’ past and future events when he touches an object or is close to someone.

Sheriff Calder, a cold and calculating man, capable of cruelty beyond comprehension, has been controlling the town by fear, with the help of Amos Tanner, for over twenty years. He considers himself too powerful and intimidating for anyone to end his reign of terror.

Rafael Destino, the Lord of Casa Destino, is working towards ruining Amos Thatcher, financially and emotionally. He holds Thatcher responsible for the suspicious death of the sister he loved and who Thatcher married. Rafael hopes his adopted son, Myhetta, will be able to bring  about Thatcher’s destruction before his own death. Myhetta loves Rafael and feels beholden, even though Rafael’s strategy is sometimes a heavy burden.

Maelstrom hit the ground running and didn’t stop. Superb premise, compelling and well crafted story line. The characters are so well drawn and the setting very visual. The story includes, and deals with a lot, including murders, revenge, corruption and cruelty. Family connections are wide-spread, tangled and tricky.

A wonderfully diverse cast of characters make this story memorable for me. Good and bad, they are all well-portrayed and realistic. Myhetta is my favourite, complex and definitely flawed but at heart a good guy plagued by, and struggling with, the weight of responsibility he feels. His back story unfolds throughout and generates sympathy and understanding of how his past, what he endured, shaped the man he has become. Known amongst the townsfolk as breed, because of his mixed ancestry, he had a less than easy childhood until Rafael adopted him when he and Myhetta’s mother, Ahya, began a relationship.

Myhetta does everything he can to negate the Sheriff’s influence and help those he has harmed, most notably, Casey. After he and his friends steal alcohol from the liquor store Calder punishes Casey in a terrible way, which brings him to the Casa Destino and Myhetta.

The title is perfect and fits the story…’a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil’  Two vortexes swirling on a collision course, with Sheriff Calder at the centre of one and Myhetta at the heart of the other. The touch of supernatural with Casey is portrayed brilliantly and the relationship which develops between him and Myhetta is wonderful. Impressive writing and a powerful, captivating narrative, I loved it.

The story of how Francis Guenette came to write this book from her mother’s original, unpublished manuscript and notes is extraordinary. The whole process is explained at the end of the book and is a wonderful account which spans decades.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT MAELSTROM by @FrancisGuenette #TuesdayBookBlog

 Today’s team second team review is from Noelle, she blogs at

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Noelle has been reading Maelstrom by Francis Guenette


Book Review: Maelstrom by Francis Guenette

Maelstrom: turbulence, tumult, turmoil, chaos, confusion, upheaval. A perfect title for this book, which is based on a concept from her mother, but given form and substance by the author. Ms. Guenette’s mother worked on Maelstrom off and on for most of her life, leaving a two thousand page manuscript when she died. When Ms. Guenette found it, she was determined to get it published, making it hers in the process of winnowing, rewriting, expanding characters and giving it life and shape.

Maelstrom is also a perfect example of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies, as described by Joseph Campbell in his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The hero starts in the ordinary world and receives a call to adventure; along the way he or she must face tasks and trials either alone, or with assistance. If the hero survives, he or she may obtain the gift of important self-knowledge, which may be used to improve the world.

The hero in Maestrom is Myhetta, a young man also called the Breed, because of his mixed heritage. Born of the rape of his mother by the all-powerful Bert Calder, Sheriff of the isolated mountain town of Haddon, Myhetta and his mother Ahya, escape to the estate of Rafael Destino, head of Destino Enterprises. Rafael and Ahya become lovers, and Rafael raises Myhetta as his own son, schooled to take over his money, power and influence.

Rafael is now dying, but is still determined to ruin the man who married his sister Serena, then killed her; he is pushing Myhetta to exact his revenge. Myhetta is an imperfect hero: he is tormented by being his adopted father’s instrument of revenge and he drinks to excess and womanizes. But he has a generous heart and an intelligent mind.

As the story opens, the reader is immediately drawn into the world ruled by the Sheriff: Calder shoots and kills a young woman on Suicide Ridge, a murder that Myhetta witnesses. She is killed because she came to Haddon to investigate the rumors of corruption, and with Myhetta’s help had come too close to the truth.

Haddon is populated with colorful, well-drawn characters, whose lives are tragically influenced by the evil of Sheriff Calder, who has raped, maimed and murdered anyone challenging his absolute authority. His reign of terror is abetted by the mayor of Haddon, Amos Thatcher; Thatcher’s first wife was Serena Destino, sister of Rafael and she gave him a son, Casey, before her death.

Calder is the center of the maelstrom. One by one, the people he has harmed are helped by Myhetta, thus bringing down the wrath of Calder and stoking his determination to eliminate the Breed in a deniable way…when he can reach him. Myhetta is safe behind the gates and perimeter of the Casa Destino estate and is only vulnerable when he ventures into town.

An element of the supernatural touches the story in the person of Casey, who as Rafael’s nephew, has the gift of “second sight” – the ability to see the past and the future of those to whom he is emotionally attached. After Casey and his friends steal liquor from a local store, he is taught a lesson by Sheriff Calder at the behest of his father – he is beaten and the palms of his hands are each cut with deep X. In his physical agony and with the emotional impact that his own father had this done, Casey is inextricably drawn to Myhetta as a source of comfort and protection, For his safety, Myhetta brings Casey to stay at Casa Destino as Rafael’s ward, fulfilling Rafael’s wish to bring nephew into the fold. An additional interest to this reader was the existence of a family of wolves Myhetta has trained. They play an important role in search and rescue and in the protection of Myhetta, Casey, and those closest to them.

True to the hero myth, as Myhetta helps the people of Haddon, he gradually comes to accept his role as the new Patron of Destino Enterprises and the requirement that he care for the people who make it run.

If there is a fault in this saga, it lies with the number of characters and their complicated interrelationships. It took me a while to figure them all out, but once done, their stories wove into an intricate web of lies, deceit, gossip, and danger. Most of them are strongly written, although I found one of them, Casey’s mother and wife of Mayor Thatcher, to be a mass of contradictions, not all of which were clear.

This is a fairy long novel, but superbly written by an excellent wordsmith whose talent clearly derives from that of her mother – so there is a ghost who accompanies the book! Once I had the characters straightened out, I couldn’t put the book down and read deep into the night. I recommend it highly. An excellent and compelling read.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Karen reviews Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

Today’s book review comes from Karen, she blogs at


Karen chose to read and review Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette


My Opinion

The book introduces you to Lisa-Marie, a teenager whose grandmother sends her to her aunt Bethany at Crater Lake for the summer. The little community around Izzy – trauma counsellor at Camp Micah –  in the cabins by the lake also welcomes another summer guest. I will not tell you more about the story than shown in the Goodreads plot description. This would spoil the fun of reading this book yourself.

With Disappearing in Plain Sight, Francis Guenette has created a story that doesn’t let you off the hook The reader gets to know the community members pretty soon. The characters, their ways of dealing with stuff, their feelings, and the events are very real. You may often think differently, however you know that there are persons in your life who act and feel like the characters in question. The characters and locations are fittingly described; you feel Francis’ love for characters and site. Disappearing in Plain Sight gets you hooked – even if it is not your typical genre. I was drawn into the story right away. I felt close to Lisa-Marie, like being an invisible part of the community. Disappearing in Plain Sight is a great read for contemporary fiction fans, readers who like to uncover the inner demons, and self-awareness.

This is a book to read again.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at


Cathy chose to read and review Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette


Lisa-Marie is spending the summer on the beautiful shores of Crater Lake, Vancouver Island, with her Aunt Bethany and her aunt’s partner, Beulah. They live by Camp Micah, a refuge for troubled teenagers who have spent years in care, and among a small diverse community who all have their own conflicting personalities, emotions and issues.

Crater Lake is remote and peaceful, a place to which people gravitate in the hope of leaving behind their troubled pasts. But, as the cast of very authentic and well drawn characters find, problems have a tendency to follow on regardless, as if attached by an invisible cord. And no matter how much or how long they are ignored, one day they will demand to be resolved.

Izzy Montgomery is a psychological trauma counsellor, a widow grieving for her husband, Caleb, who was the grounding force in her life for so many years. Caleb’s influence is still felt strongly and his absence affects the residents of Crater Lake. They can do nothing else but accept and control their reactions as best they can. The different perspectives give a lot of insight into each wounded and complex personality, and as a result there are strong feelings running through the narrative along with the underlying effects of guilt, bullying, grief and abuse. These challenging social issues are handled with sensitivity and illustrate how they can have a devastating effect on the people suffering the consequences of such emotional ordeals.

Each chapter explores a specific character and includes past events which eventually brought them to Crater Lake and this point in their lives. It’s really fascinating and clever the way Francis Guenette has woven together these individual stories with insight and awareness for human nature and frailties.

This summer at Crater Lake, with transient folk added to the mix, precipitates a change in everyone’s life and the emotional strains and tensions, which have built up over time, challenging them all to focus on soul-searching and whether there is the ability to leave troubles in the past where they belong, leaving the way open to adjust and move forward.

The setting is extremely appealing and very visual, the detailed descriptions of the area are evocative and expressive. The story encompasses a lot, some experiences no-one should have to experience, unrequited love, dealing with loss and grief and eventually coming round to letting go of blame and so being able to embrace the not always easy process of healing.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Dani reviews Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette

Today we have a review from Dani, she blogs at


Dani chose to read and review Disappearing In Plain Sight by Francis Guenette


Here is Dani’s review.

What a book! The novel follows the stories of various residents in the little community at Crater Lake. With stunning sensitivity and an acute awareness of the importance of historically complete stories, Francis weaves together these broken and touching lives into a tale of emotional healing.

The writer has a real flair for her craft; even at the points where the plot slowed down and I started to worry that not much else would happen, Ms. Guenette’s writing carried me through. If you’re reading this too, my advice to you is to keep going, because the ending will knock your socks off!

Something I really loved about this book was the insight into the world of counselling. I loved experiencing the fantastic character development both through my eyes and through a professional lens.

I want to re-iterate my point about character development; by the end of the book I felt so proud of the characters I had drawn close to throughout the story. Tears were shed as I reached the last few pages!

Heavy and bold issues are dealt with un-oppressively; although the characters have to deal with some horrific experiences, the book itself is not a dead-weight so much as a journey. The story is sprinkled with humour that – for the most part – went over my little British head, but I’m pretty sure that’s a cultural thing.

In all, this novel is a candid, tasteful, and sympathetic account of intertwining stories and – ultimately – healing and a very satisfying finale.

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