Publisher: Bella Books
This book is so outrageously flawed that the first question is how the publisher could have allowed it to be released. The fact that Katherine V. Forrest is listed as the editor makes it even more mind boggling. The sad thing is that deep down there is a story that could have been very interesting. It’s so badly mishandled though that it destroys the enjoyment of the book.
Lesley Windsor is sent by her husband to attend the funeral of his mother, a woman Lesley has never been allowed to meet. All she knows is that her husband comes from an eccentric family that lives in an old mansion in the forests of California and that the area around her in-law’s home has a forbidding feeling around it. That doesn’t improve when Lesley and her young son are met at the door by her mother-in-law’s ghost. What follows is a story of secrets, a mysterious library at the center of the house and fanatical forces from outside that are determined to destroy everything. Lesley must fight for her son, newly discovered emotions and a heritage that she doesn’t fully understand.
Unfortunately, the book breaks down in a number of areas. There are the mechanical failings, such as words missing, characters that change names in part of the book and scenes that add nothing to the story, but take it in directions that do nothing but distract from what is going on.
The dialogue is inane, archaic or ridiculous depending on the scene and which character is speaking it. At times it’s difficult not to laugh out loud when Lesley describes her lover’s body as have a “tiny tongue” between her legs. Issues that should have been caught in the editing process, like the story saying that Lesley was a nine year old child in 1984, but the blurb on the back saying she was a typical 1970s housewife, abound.
Deerhaven Pines also contains problems in the plot. Often the characters’ actions are unbelievable. Lesley’s son is in a hospital fighting for his life and she’s running around the countryside and having a sexual encounter with a woman she just met. Other characters appear to be nothing but schizophrenic in that they switch personalities at the drop of a hat. Lesley has never had a thought in her head about being a lesbian, but takes one look at her husband’s sister Rachel, who at that moment is tied to a bed raving mad, and Lesley falls instantly in love and abandons everything else in her life for this woman she’s never said hello to. Later, when each woman has her first sexual experience with another woman, not only do they know exactly what to do, but it results in hours of orgiastic sex. Neither of them seems to know how she achieved that blissful state however. The explanation of why the library exists might be appealing to some gay people, but really comes off as silly. There is never an explanation of who built the library, why the house was put in place to guard it or how any of the people connected to it were chosen. The evil Others who are trying to destroy everything are never explained, nor how the women control the power they use to combat them. There are nearly as many unanswered questions at the end of the book as when the story starts.
The cover of Deerhaven Pines will draw the reader in. It’s masterfully done and promises an interesting story. Sadly, the book doesn’t deliver.