Author: Elizabeth Forster
Louise Forster is another of the early Escape authors who helped me get better acquainted with my e-reader, unfortunately life has gotten a little on top of my and I’m a little behind on writing the review and I’m sure I’ve told you all how I despise that.
Finding Elizabeth is set in the freezing cold winter of Canada, a winter that made me think I was exaggerating just a little when I always said that there was nowhere colder than Canberra. The way that Forster describes the weather, the conditions and the reactions of unsuspecting Aussies injects quite a touch of humour – especially if you are reading while sitting in a roasting car in a school car park. Not only is Jack Riley an Aussie used to our scorching summers but when he heads off to Canada it is in the middle of Summer, but not when he gets there.
Jack’s mission to Canada is where the book gets its name because he is out searching for Elizabeth, an old flame of his step fathers. He ends up in Spruce Valley after seeing a ballet as a favour to an old friend from his University days. The ballet just happens to be the one that Katherine Bell danced the lead in for the last time before her retirement from professional ballet. She is retiring to work in an aged care facility in her home town of Spruce Valley.
I love the way Forster wrote Katherine because here is a woman in the public eye, in the papers, fawned over and loved by millions but she is not even close to what I would have expected. She is very introverted, very insular, and quite isolated really. She has a close family and her best friend from childhood that she is very close too, and the remainder of the ballet company are like family but outside of that there is very little in Katharine’s life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is what happens when someone is truly driven to be the best she can be, truly committed to giving her chosen career path her all; which is why it’s hard when the body stops recovering the way it does when it’s young. The lifespan of a ballet dancers career, like many professional sportspeople, is quite short so require a Plan B.
But back to what I was saying, Katherine is quite insular and there aren’t many attachments outside of family and ballet in her life. Her passion and dedication to ballet has a lot to do with that because ballet always held the greatest part of her focus and that was always fine with her. She learned to keep people outside of ballet at a distance because if you don’t let them in they can’t let you down. This mentality gave the chemistry between Katherine and Jack a whole new sizzle because it had Katherine fighting it on so many different levels.
In Finding Elizabeth we watch Katherine find her life after professional ballet, Jack finds more than he bargained for in his search for a woman who hasn’t been heard from in over 30 years and both of their best friends find out that hiding the truth from yourself with tawdry flings and bad choices does not make what you really want go away.
Forster draws her characters well and makes none of them perfect, they are flawed, they are realistic and they are quite amusing at times. She has drawn vivid locations and transported me from the roasting car to the freezing blizzard. Well worth the read, there were some rather predictable unveilings, but there were also some real eyeopeners that I never would have suspected.
Check her out, you will be glad you did.