Wingspan – Karis Walsh

Wingspan - Karis WalshKen is an architect. She builds boxes with carefully crafted bland detail on tract housing. She lives a carefully crafted life; smart, unremarkable clothes, unemotional relationships, uninvolved job. But flashes of rebellion emerge like her restored ’56 Corvette, and the purchase of an acre of land on the remote Olympic Peninsula. When she finds and injured bird and delivers it to raptor specialist Dr Bailey Chase, Ken opens the door to change she neither expects or wants.

Bailey has her own issues. Emotionally and physically withdrawn after a difficult childhood she shields herself and her bird sanctuary from the outside world. Hiding behind the need to give her raptors protection she resists change as much as she resists intrusion.

The two women are bound to clash as they bristle with defenses. But are either of them prepared to change. Prepared to start really living?

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As with All Karis Walsh’s wonderful books the characters are the story. Multifaceted, layered and beautifully drawn, Ken and Bailey hold our attention from the start. Their clashes, their attraction and the personal and shared development are what draw us in and hold us.

The surrounding scenery, the wild rugged landscape and the birds at the center of the story are exquisitely drawn. The life of an obsessed animal rescue vet shows us in loving detail the raptors and the care and attention needed to save them. We are given an insight into the pain and joy of rehabilitating wild birds.

Ken and Baileys history is explored in a slow, book long, reveal. The back-history fills in their characters while explaining their behaviours and deepening our understanding of how and why they have become the women we are shown. Each has a difficult youth. One a sensitive soul whose emotionally distant parents left the child scared and scarred of emotion, the other the edgy warrior whose inability to save her friends from bullying has left her unable to risk real connections and scared of revealing her creative nature.

Karis Walsh biogThe pace is gentle, the writing is beautifully crafted and the story a wonderful exploration of how childhood events can shape our lives. The challenge is to outgrow the childhood fears and find the freedom to start living.

Karis Walsh’s latest book follows on from her earlier successes and adds to a growing shelf of books I will always be happy to re-read.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • First published 2014
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (17 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IIAG64I
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