To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis
by Andra Wilkins
e-Book, 311 pages
Wood Hermit Press
March 1, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal Fiction
Source: Received for review as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
“Explorer Meriwether Lewis has been stuck in Nowhere since his mysterious death nearly two centuries ago. His last hope for redemption is helping nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney flee her madame mother in New Orleans and find her father in Nashville. To get there, Merry must cross his own grave along the Natchez Trace, where he duels the corrupt Judge, an old foe who has his own despicable plans for Em.”
Let me start by saying that this can only loosely be described as historical fiction – it has much stronger elements of the paranormal genre with historical details laced in. Obviously Meriwether Lewis is of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition – and we get some details of that expedition and his life afterward as governor of the Louisiana Territory and the controversy surrounding his death. However, none of the story is actually set in the past. It takes place in 1977. This I had an issue with because looking back on all of the book blurbs and summaries it never stated that the main portion of the story takes place this recently. I was a little disappointed to be spending so much time in what is still relatively the present. This made me appreciate the above mentioned historical tidbits all the more since they were the morsels I was looking for.
With that out of the way, I really did enjoy this book on its own merits as a lite paranormal story. I liked the way the author opened the novel with an obituary for Meriwether Lewis and a self-reflection by the character on his legacy. The Purgatory type world that the author created (as a run-down bar) and the need to complete some sort of task which was unknown to move on was an interesting plotline. One of the things that kept me guessing was whether or not each person they met was a “real” person or someone like Lewis who was on his quest to be able to pass on. I really feel that there was a Huckleberry Finn reference in one of the characters – which if so, I enjoyed being able to catch, since I always miss those things.
There were a couple of areas of which I found myself confused while reading and these always appeared to be the big action scenes. The two scenes that stood out in my mind were the escape from the steamboat and the re-enactor camp. I had to keep going back to figure out just what happened and then, in the instance of the boat escape, just resolved myself with the notion that they got off of that boat and into the water somehow. I think the author was trying to possibly convey chaos and confusion, but it was not well executed. In contrast, the author’s shining moments were when Em and Lewis were in a scene by themselves. You could really feel what the characters felt for each other and how much each truly depended on the other. They both changed because of the influence of the other. I enjoyed the way the author chose to switch between the narration or Em and Lewis so that as a reader we were able to see events and their perspectives from both sides
My best summary would be that it was a great “buddy story” with instances of sometimes successful action sequences.
This is the first novel for author Andra Watkins. You can visit her website or blog for additional information about the book. Her blog also features her walk along the entire Natchez Trace and her stops along the way which, I am going to check out.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Thanks to the HFVBT tour, I have one copy of either a print or e-Book copy (winner’s choice) of To Live Forever to giveaway. Note: Print copy is only available for those residing in the USA – e-Book is open worldwide. Entries are made through the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends May 11th.
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