Just Beyond the Shining River by Lynnette Beers is a book about love. That love that happened, that love that wasn’t really love, that love that is yet to come and the kind of love that is always with you. And with those different kinds of “love” comes a mystery, a secret buried so deep that could change and affect a whole family, a family that has lived through deception for decades.
The main characters are Gemma and Hannah, two women not so different and going trough a similar situation. Both have to face that what their thought was their life is gone, that the relationships that defined them for years don’t exist anymore.
Gemma has been with her girlfriend Beth for some time now and even if the relationship is far from perfect and she has moments of doubting how good they are for each other, she hasn’t come to a point where she feels brave enough to change things. Then, suddenly, is Beth who takes this step telling Gemma that she doesn’t love her anymore, that she doesn’t mind having her as a roomate or friend but not as her partner. Gemma has let this situation going for some time when she gets dramatic news from home. Her nan, Emily, the only person in her whole family with whom she has felt a deep bond and love, has passed away. She will have to go back to London to help her mother and aunt to deal with nan belongins so Beth’s situation will have to wait until Gemma is back.
Then we have Hannah, a woman who not so long ago was happily married to James, with whom she shared her life and work place, her whole existence revolved around him. She thought their love was going to last forever so, when the marriage falls apart, she has to come to terms to the idea to stop being James’ wife and, that way, leaving behind the life she had and knew.
Both women will have to face a new reality, the consequences of the changes that have happened without them expecting them and will have to make choices not always easy but needed to carry on with their lives. And to find, if they are lucky and brave enough, what they have been looking for their whole lives, a real connection with another human being, a love so deep that will be eternal.
If the the path they have to walk to re-define their whole existence is not hard and difficult enough, a mystery that affects Gemma’s roots and what she thought she knew about her nan will show her a new face of the woman that taught her the most important things in her life. This way, Gemma, with the help of her good friend Lorna and later Hannah’s, a woman that comes to her life by pure coincidence, will uncover a secret that has been kept hidden for decades.
What you’ll find in “Just Beyond the Shining River” by Lynnette Beers is an enthralling mystery, a love from the past still alive in the present and the promise of a second chance at love, of having the kind of connection with another person that lasts more than life itself.
What Gemma and Hanna have to face going through the different phases of lost is deeply moving, beautiful to see when they come to realice that they can’t keep something alive when it has been dead for so long, when it wasn’t meant to be, even if letting go make them feel empty and lost. And that’s an amazing message to give to anyone.
I don’t want to say too much, this adventure has to be yours to live with its somersaults and surprises, but I do want to congratulate the author, Lynnette Beers, for being able to make me live such a deep feeling, the one the characters have for each other. Emily and Mary’s love is palpable, it’s a caress through the pages and is so alive that you just want for them to meet again, and then you know they will, their souls will always find each other.
Everything wrapped in the amazing scenario of London, where I’m sure everyone that reads this story will look for Leda’s statue and think about Emily and Mary’s eternal love, of Gemma and Hannah’s bright future together. I sure will!
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.