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Posts Tagged ‘Arcadia National Park’

BOAR ISLAND by Nevada Barr: Book Review

The life of a national park ranger can be a wandering one.  Anna Pigeon has worked in Texas, Michigan, Colorado, and Minnesota, and in Boar Island she’s been assigned to temporary duty at Acadia National Park, 47,000 acres on Mount Desert Island off the coast of Maine.  It’s beautiful, rugged, and an oasis where hiking and boating should be the reason why visitors come there, not because they are fleeing across the country to escape bullying and stalking.

Heath Jarrod, Anna’s closest friend, and her daughter Elizabeth are going through an extremely troubling time.  After much prodding, Elizabeth reveals that she’s the target of cyber bullying, to the point that the teenager has attempted suicide.  Desperate to get away from this, Heath, Elizabeth, and family friend and physician Gwen Littleton decide to join Anna in Acadia, hoping that a move from Colorado to Maine will halt the bullying and stalking.  It doesn’t.

Heath, Elizabeth, and Gwen are staying at the home of one of Gwen’s friends while the friend is off-island.  What they’re not quite prepared for is that the house is a reconfigured lighthouse, set on a rock one hundred feet above the Atlantic.  Not the easiest place to navigate, especially for wheelchair-bound Heath.  But she’s determined to keep Elizabeth safe, and if that means living on a remote island until the cyber bully is caught, so be it.  She and Elizabeth have both dealt with difficult things before.

In Acadia, park ranger Denise Castle is dealing with demons of her own.  She had been in a long-term relationship with another ranger when he abruptly broke it off and shortly thereafter got married.  Now he is a happy husband and father, and Denise can barely stand to be in the same room with Peter and his family.  An abandoned child who grew up in foster homes, Denise has had rejection issues her entire life, and Peter’s abandonment has only made them worse.  But now someone new and totally unexpected has entered her life, and it’s going to change forever.

Anna Pigeon is an amazing heroine, dedicated to both her career and her friends.  She’s definitely a loner, but via her marriage and her friendship with Heath she has become more involved with, and more interested in, other people than she was earlier in her life and career.  She’s still tough and independent, but now there’s a compassionate side to her that wasn’t there in the earlier novels.

Nevada Barr’s sense of place is wonderful, not surprising since she was a park ranger herself for several years.  In addition, her characters have multiple layers to them that go beyond their public personas.  In Boar Island you get to know and understand the inner workings not only of Anna and Heath, but also Denise, a lonely woman who is so overcome by the unexpected appearance of Pauline Duffy in her life that she becomes totally undone.

You can read more about Nevada Barr at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.