Search This Blog

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Book Review: Water Witch by Deborah LeBlanc

· Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
· Publisher: Leisure (September 30, 2008)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0843960396
· ISBN-13: 978-0843960396

Water Witch is the story of Dunny, an ordinary woman with an extraordinary gift. She has the power to find things that are lost or hidden….car keys, water, wallets, as well as missing people and animals. The only drawback is that her ability is tied to an extra digit on her left hand, which she feels compelled to keep hidden with the use of gloves. That, and the fact that there are numerous people who ostracize her for her gift or wish to use it for their own gain, like finding oil on their property.

For these very reasons Dunny has hidden herself away in her ancestral home in Texas where she is blessed to work as a freelance writer. The job doesn’t pay much but she enjoys what she is doing and is able to live off the interest of a somewhat sizeable account left to her by her grandparents who squirreled away their fortune after having discovered oil on their land, thanks to Dunny, a few years before their deaths.

Having given up on the hope for love, a husband, and a family of her own, Dunny has consigned herself to devoting time to her writing and caring for, in her own way, a strange dog that wanders in and out of her life from time to time. The peculiar thing is that each time Fritter wanders into her life something bad happens. The first time she met him, she discovered a brushfire near her home, the second time she was in a minor car accident. With Fritter’s latest appearance, Dunny gets an urgent phone call from her sister, Angelle.

Angelle resides in a small town in Louisiana with her husband, Travis, and earns a living as a school teacher. Not only one, but two of Angelle’s students have disappeared and it seems that only Dunny’s power of dowsing can bring them back, that is, if it isn’t already too late. Dunny’s become comfortable with her life and fears being ostracized in yet another town and so she’s reluctant to come to her sister’s aid. However, she senses that there is more to Angelle’s story, and there is, than what she is saying. Eventually, against her and Fritter’s better judgment, she goes to Louisiana to attempt to find the children.

What follows is a supernatural tale of good versus evil with not only the lives, but also the souls, of two precious children hanging in the balance. With the support of her sister and insight of Poochie, who has more power than even she knows, Dunny must overcome her own fears and insecurities in order to embrace her special gifts to combat a madman who is perverting the sacred rituals of his ancestors for his own gain and bring those children home safely.

At just under 300 pages, Water Witch is a quick read. The author’s easy style makes the story seem to jump off the page. Though we are not privy to a great deal of backstory or history of the characters, they felt like real people to me, their thought processes and actions didn’t seem contrived just to move the story along. Leblanc does an excellent job of allowing the reader to think that he or she has discovered the villain’s true identity, only to surprise us with an unexpected twist. I especially like the character of Poochie and her interactions with the other characters as the plot unfolds. However, sensitive readers may find the liberal use of the “F” word unsavory, as well as her quoting one of Demi Moore’s most famous line from the motion picture GI Jane. Nonetheless, given the circumstances the characters find themselves in you can’t fault them for a few profanities. I also found the author’s inclusion of folk beliefs native to Louisiana delightful, the feux fo lais for example. 

There were a few plot points that I found puzzling such as what happened to the shoes in Poochie’s prayer-tree and who exactly were the shadowy beings haunting the villain? Even with these questions somewhat unexplained, it didn’t detract from the story and I found myself wanting the story to continue. I would love to have seen Dunny explore the full extent of her powers. Did they begin and end at dowsing, or did she have the potential to be a “witch” in every sense of the word? Given what occurs at the end of the book concerning the source of Dunny’s powers, as well as a budding romance, I wonder if a sequel will be forthcoming. If so, I would gladly escape into Dunny’s world for a few more hours and would invite you to come along……

---Carolina Dean


Purchase the Book

No comments: