Dark Maiden
Norma Lehr
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East meets West across time and tradition as three young American women and their Indian immigrant mothers take first steps toward true sisterhood, shattering secrets and sharing joy and tears in Norma Lehr's
Dark Maiden
.




Buy *Dark Maiden* by Norma Lehr online

Dark Maiden
Norma Lehr
Juno Books
Paperback
224 pages
September 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Sometimes while reading Dark Maiden, it's hard to keep up with what the author is aiming for. The story follows Sheila Miller, whose child died several months ago; she has been in a hospital ever since. She insists her child's soul was sucked out by a strange Asian woman, but of course no one believes her. Her husband Karl, who definitely doesn't have much of a bedside manner, arranges for them to move to the country for quiet and rest as Sheila tries to get better. However, they appear to have moved to the source of the problems, an old abandoned mine where 100 years ago a massacre took place and a special amulet was hidden. Sheila finds herself attracted to her neighbour, Chad, but fears her grip on reality is lessening as she sees a strange Chinese woman and a large fox and has odd moments of obsession about the mine and her neighbor's child.

The story is told from many different perspectives. We see events from Sheila's eyes, but also through her psychotherapist, Theo, her husband, Karl, her relative Iris, even her husband's mistress. A lot of people die in this story, although several of these deaths don't seem to have much of an impact on the people you think they would affect. Fortunately for Iris and Theo, they stumble upon the very Chinese man who knows all about the amulets and understands that a fox-maiden is trying to take over Sheila's body because of an ancient curse. The story works toward some sort of a climax where the disparate people who have been dragged into the plot do their best to destroy the fox-maiden.

The story is reasonably well-written but was overall unsatisfying - partly because the story is a bit too outlandish in many ways, also because the characterization is rather thin and people didn't seem to react that normally to significant events. Some parts of the story feel like they had lazy plotting, such as Mr. Huang, the Chinese man, being found easily, various people being killed off who might have prevented the Happy Ever After ending, and overall I found the fox-maiden device difficult to get into. It's a reasonable read but isn't anything special.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2007

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