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Just days after Raynor Winn learns that Moth, her husband of thirty-two years, is terminally ill, their house and farm are taken away, along with their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, through Devon and Cornwall. Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea, and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable and life-affirming journey. Powerfully written and unflinchingly honest, The Salt Path is ultimately a portrayal of home—how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
When I read a review of this book on another blog, I was intrigued. I’ve always enjoyed hiking long distances and sleeping in tents, all from the comfort of my recliner, with a cup of hot cocoa or bottle of water to hand. But this is the first such book I read where the people doing the long-distance walking had few resources and no other choice.
Although I found some parts of the book that lacked dialogue tags disorienting, I was right there with Ray and Moth, sweltering in summer heat and shivering in October wind, through trials and tribulations of their experience, angered by others’ reactions upon learning they lost their home through no fault of their own. I would like to have known more about Ray and Moth’s life after they concluded their walk.
This book reminded me of a novel I read last year, The Four Winds by Cristin Hannah, about a family struggling during the 1930’s Dust Bowl and moving to California to find a better life. It’s sad that even today, society harbors negative stereotypes of homeless people. The good news is that Ray, unlike the heroine in The Four Winds, lived to tell her story.
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Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?