Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Stain by Charlene Jones, reviewed by Catherine Sword

The Stain begins with a tough scene.  One that the reader will not forget, even though the character Diana will forget it.  That is one of the points readers will discover as this exploration of reincarnation unfolds through the lives of three women over three different eras and locations.  We find ourselves in a 1640s First Nations village, in1885 London, England, and in the current day in what some readers may recognize as the Toronto area.

Charlene Jones
Fans of Andrew Davidson’s Gargoyle, will enjoy another view of this topic.  Where Davidson is very good for creating a mood in his love story through time, Jones is much more satisfying in presenting some mechanics of how this whole act of reincarnating occurs. 

It’s an easy read straight through the story, thought occasionally the reader may be slowed down when the author’s poetic background seeps into the prose and the reader may pause to consider a turn of a phrase, such as: “Theodore’s callousness had cleaved her psyche more deeply than Mipham had understood.” 

Although contemplative in places, this novel is not a lecture or treatise on a philosophical topic.  We care for these characters.  We thrill to the discovery of clues that weave throughout their three lives.  There are things they have forgotten.  Things that drive their lives in ways that have been pre-determined and the reader has the privilege of piecing the mystery together. 

 Jones reminds me of Robert Sawyer, in that she tells a good story, but her real strength is in presenting complex concepts in a clear and entertaining manner.  Readers may never look at karma the same way after reading The Stain.  Perhaps readers will pause to consider what clues to past lives they can see in their own day-to-day reality. 

Note: You can attend a book launch for The Stain on Wednesday, December 3, 7:00 pm at Snow Lion Meditation, 708 Pape Ave, Toronto (map here), or Sunday, December 7, 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Blue Heron Books, 62 Brock St W, Uxbridge  (map here).  Order your copy here or by emailing Charlene at:  

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Catherine Sword is a retired librarian who is turning her attention to writing.  You may find her work on CommuterLit and

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Toronto, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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