Thursday, 9 January 2014

Angela Brackeen

Lark, in Her Element: A Soul Set Free
Lark, in Her Element

A boring cover. It didn't stand out but what I got from it, other than maybe that I was opening a clothing catalogue, was that it was gentle and 'serious'. The title and author's name were at the expense of the cover and faded into nothing. Not only forgettable but unappealing too.

The blurb made me sit up and I particularly liked the line: Now she must choose—escape, or survive and learn to live with the changes, which especially grabbed my interest. Lark, in Her Element appears to be a brooding read about a young woman left with little choice but to change the way she's been living for whatever reasons, and I'm keen to find out, although the price (Kindle) was very expensive: £8.04 or $13.25, that's a lot of money for an eBook, even for a well known author!

In the opening chapter, I became a little confused because it read like a paranormal, but I soon realised that this was the insight of the main character's (Lark) thoughts.

The first few chapters moved through Lark’s life too fast and we were only allowed glimpses from her life as the book moved from child to adulthood. I couldn't connect with her and I really wanted to be with her on her journey, but the author (I felt) rushed the growing up bits until I felt like a distant spectator instead of being side-by-side with Lark.

The essence of the book is rejection. Lark was rejected by her father (he died), her first love (Hartmann Worth) didn't fight hard enough for her, her work colleagues rejected her... and she aches to belong. I got that. I felt her loneliness, but she was such an introvert and seemed to withdraw from human contact. In fact, I wanted to shake her for not having a backbone: Lark went to buy paint (ten tubs) and the assistants were not only rude to her but deliberately made up the wrong paint colour, and when she returned it they refused to help and implied she was the one to make the mistake. I'd have poured the paint all over their heads! (or then maybe I could do with some of Lark's calm!)

As I'd already said, part of the story felt told, as if the author was rushing through it, but then other parts, the dreary bits, were detailed over pages and pages of text. For instance, Lark met a married man, Russertt, (she didn’t know he was married at the time) but I felt the scenes were rushed just so we could linger over Lark’s depression when the relationship fell apart.

And I couldn’t believe Lark would have been fired from her job because of it, either! And then everyone gossiping about her, not just at work, but in another state when she went home? Really? The book felt very old-fashioned because of that, in fact, I’d have thought I was reading a historical had there not been mentions of modern technology.

This review seems bad, but all in all, it wasn’t a bad read, far from it. I’d describe it as a gentle and gliding story with a strong lesson in prejudice on someone's character. I think it asks the question: what if a recluse 
was taken from their comfort zone and pushed into the judgemental eye of her peers?

The detail in the book is certainly very good and visual. It’s nicely written, almost lyrical with its flowery prose.

To Lark’s dismay, her heart’s innocent longings have brought unsettling changes to her life. Now she must choose—escape, or survive and learn to live with the changes.

Life was so right; flea marketing within sight of San Francisco Bay in search of bongo drums, old photographs, and vintage dresses marked the end of Lark’s busy, but well-ordered work weeks. Now, the control she has held over her life—control that brought her such success—is slipping from her grasp.

Those evenings spent romantically with a work associate couldn’t be to blame, could they? After all, she only longed to wear one of the lovely vintage dresses that hang forlornly in her closet …

Control over her life seems all but gone, when threatening occurrences leave her trembling in fear behind her own door, her mind reeling with questions of why. She fears she is coming unhinged—until a rainy evening when her romantic interest’s revelation brings blessed understanding.

But, how will she live with the changes that have been wrought in her life? Hope is prompted by a treasured flea market find—a key to remembering who she was before hurt sent her retreating. Will she see a break in the clouds and find desperately sought for peace if she flies to a place of family, winding creeks, and a gray house that fades into the trees?