The sea calls to Eleanor. Like the turn of the waves it beckons her from the heart of the town she's always known, from her husband Hob and their young daughter, Agnes, to the unfathomable depths of the ocean.
Agnes's daughter Eleanor is six years old. She shares her name with the grandmother she never knew and everything else with her identical twin, Esmerelda. But to Agnes, only Eleanor is a constant reminder of the past.
After a dark event leaves her family in tatters, Eleanor, now fourteen, is left caring for her alcoholic mother, whose grief has torn her apart. But when Eleanor's reality begins to unravel, she starts to lose her grip on time itself, slipping from the present into strange other lands where she's in danger of losing herself altogether.
Eleanor is the story of choices that ripple through time far beyond the moment they're made and what happens when, just sometimes, bonds are so powerful they reach beyond his world and into another ....
Eleanor by Jason Gurley was published on 10 March 2016 by Harper Voyager.
I really did leap out of my comfort zone when I agreed to read and review Eleanor by Jason Gurley. Harper Voyager is the home of fantasy and science-fiction at Harper Collins. a genre that I usually steer well clear of as I do tend to find it difficult to lose myself in such magical stories. However, I was tempted by the absolutely beautiful cover image, look at it, it's wonderful. I then read through the blurb and though, hell yes, I'll give it a go. It's been a very mixed reading experience for me, but one that I'm very glad I accepted as Eleanor is so much more than I expected it to be.
The opening chapters introduce the readers to three women, the three lead characters and whose actions shape this quite beautiful story. We meet Eleanor, a young 1960s wife who has a very strong emotional connection to the sea, she loves her husband, and her child, but gave up a successful swimming career when she became a wife and mother. Eleanor always thought that her weekly swim in the freezing waters would be enough, until the day that she discovered that life was about to change again.
Twenty-three years later we meet Agnes, Eleanor's daughter. She is now a mother herself, with twin six year old girls, Esmerelda and Eleanor, named for her mother. Agnes's life is busy, and stressful, she's impatient and edgy, taking risks and cutting corners.
Jumping forward eight years and Agnes has changed. She's now a single mother, an alcoholic and a heap of misery, grief and blame. Young Eleanor cares for her, even though she knows that Agnes can't bear the sight of her.
As young Eleanor battles to retain some sort of normality in her life, going to school, seeing her Dad and growing her friendship with Jack, she also has to cope with collecting and getting rid of the numerous empty vodka and whiskey bottles, she has to ensure that her mother has food available, she also has to stay quiet. And then, suddenly, Eleanor begins to experience very strange happenings, she disappears into another world; a strange place populated by strange beings.
I have to stop here as it wouldn't be fair or right to tell any more about what happens to Eleanor, and to be honest, I find it quite difficult to describe. I wholly enjoyed the 'real' world of Eleanor, and Agnes and Eleanor senior, the writing is beautifully descriptive and the characters are as real as can be. However, that slip into the unreal is difficult for me. There is no doubt that Jason Gurley has a wonderful imagination and he writes so very well, he has created a land that is mysterious and fascinating whilst dealing with the very real human emotions that have shaped his lead characters.
Firm fans of science-fiction, fantasy and magic realism will adore Eleanor, of that I have no doubt. I did enjoy the book, and that is down to the exquisite writing and the fantastic characters.
Jason Gurley is a very talented author who has created a story that is unique, a little over the top, but very accomplished.
Jason Gurley is the author of the novels including The Man Who Ended The World, and the ongoing Movement series.
His best-selling self-published novel Eleanor was acquired by Crown Publishing in the US, Harper Collins in the UK, and others worldwide.
His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed magazine and numerous anthologies, among them, Loosed Upon The World and Help Fund My Robot Army!!!, from editor John Joseph Adams.
Jason Gurley lives and writes in Oregon.
Find out more about the author, and his writing at www.jasongurley.com
Find his author page on Facebook
Follow him on Twitter @jgurley