THE FAIR­NESS OF BEASTS

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight History/Historical -

Gar Lasalle’s third book in the Widow Walk series, The Fair­ness of Beasts, moves a sprawl­ing fam­ily saga into the draw­ing rooms and bat­tle­grounds of a peo­ple di­vided.

The year is 1862. Ge­o­graphic dis­tance and fam­ily rifts emerge from the Civil War’s dark­ness to threaten Emmy O’mal­ley Evers’s kith and kin. As they try to sur­vive all that di­vides them, Emmy scram­bles to nav­i­gate a per­sonal war, aware that, de­ci­sion or in­de­ci­sion, some re­la­tion­ships may be sev­ered for­ever.

The daugh­ter of a Demo­cratic con­gress­man from Mas­sachusetts, Emmy has had ac­cess to money and power all her life, but re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence has sea­soned her. Twice wid­owed, she is a sur­vivor. Now she is re­united with her fam­ily and liv­ing in Washington, DC. Her beau, physi­cian Rory Brett, waits be­hind South­ern lines for an an­swer to his pro­posal.

As the war es­ca­lates, com­mu­ni­ca­tion evap­o­rates, and Emmy’s fam­ily is once again en­dan­gered when she leaves her chil­dren be­hind to em­bark on an ex­trac­tion mis­sion, un­sure if she’s guided by head or heart.

Emmy is a flawed hero­ine whose strength seems brit­tle, per­haps due to all she’s sur­vived. But this is more than Emmy’s story. The novel uses mul­ti­ple points of view and ex­plores the lives of each char­ac­ter who crosses Emmy’s path. Sex­ual vic­tim­iza­tion of chil­dren, phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal vi­o­lence, and the pedes­trian abuse of power are sig­nif­i­cant themes and make for har­row­ing read­ing.

When the char­ac­ters’ prob­lem­atic choices co­a­lesce with the sav­agery of war, the out­comes are heart­break­ing and of­ten hor­ri­fy­ing, “with­out so much as any­thing that re­sem­bles even a bit of the fair­ness ac­corded to beasts.” Gar Lasalle’s dili­gent use of historical events and lo­ca­tions serve as a fre­quent re­minder that this fic­tion is moored in a bloody past that none were able to out­run or es­cape.

Gar Lasalle, Solip­sis Pub­lish­ing (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover $17.95 (357pp), 978-0-9978436-1-3

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