Seneca Falls – Jesse J Thoma

Seneca Falls - Jesse J ThomaSeneca King tries to start a new life at a women’s college after being given a scholarship. She is scarred emotionally and physically. She jumps at the slightest contact runs from anything that makes her feel vulnerable and hides behind an enigmatic and distant image.

A year into her life college and one person, Brett – Seneca’s roommate, has taken the time and effort to see beyond the brittle exterior. Then Kate, the athletic trainer, offers Seneca work and another small crack begins to appear in her walls. When Seneca meets Dylan at the local lesbian bar, just before the beginning of her second year, she has no idea how much the world is about to change.

As their friendship grows can Seneca let Dylan in, however slowly? Can she learn to trust somebody with her secrets? Can she create a new life that will allow her to experience normal human interaction?

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This book is a great cross between a suspense novel and a romance. Throughout Miss Thoma reveals the psychological and physical damage that Seneca has suffered in tiny, tantalizing reveals. It takes nearly the whole book before we actually find out what has caused the terrible trauma to her body and spirit.

At the same time as we are watching Seneca’s pain being revealed, we are also seeing her very first tentative steps towards friendship with three women who have made the effort to win her trust. These gradual emotional developments are brilliantly written and lead us through an exceptional story of emotional development.

Jesse J Thoma bioThe three main characters are superbly drawn with fine detail and a light touch that gives us, the reader, enough information to color in the characters without heavy-handed descriptive detail. The relationship that builds between Seneca and Kate is a wonderful portrayal of a caring and gentle mentor. As we see Seneca and Dylan’s friendship grow the depth of Dylan’s maturity is revealed in her patients and empathy with the wounded woman.

In addition we have a small cast of supporting characters whose cameo roles add greatly to the depth of the story. Ms Thoma draws her characters with love and humor, and makes them human in their ongoing development. We see Kate gently guided to a high level of tolerance by her wife Lisa and Dylan learn the overwhelming expectations are not always external.

My only criticism of the book is that I found the end too easy after all the emotional drama, fear and suspense. Without giving away a plot spoiler, I think the resolution wasn’t equal to the expectation, their problem was to easily solved, the villain of the tale collapses without ever really threatening.  This let down what was an excellent story and a real emotional thriller.

Having said that I think it was is a very good book, well written, great emotional insight into the trauma of a damaged psyche and with wonderful characters.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (April 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JO2LYJ6
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