This week’s Cozy Read is Promised Soul by Sandra J. Jackson. Perhaps I should call it a Cozy Paranormal Read because in this story, the main characters have both lived and known each other in another time and life, with other names. Perhaps more than once before. “Two souls joined by a promise.”
We first meet Krista as a child whose imaginary friend, Mary, has told her that everything in the ocean is bad. From the prologue, we advance to grown-up Krista, a teacher, who with her boyfriend Brad had planned a 6-week summer vacation in Britain. Despite the fact that they just broke up, Krista is determined to go ahead with her plans — she’d been anticipating this for a long time. Her guide, Aaron, is all set with her itinerary and has an apartment for her to rent in a small town called Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire where she can explore on her own on the days where his services are not scheduled. The only thing dampening her enthusiasm at the moment is recurring dreams that are very disquieting for her — dreams where Mary is separated from Thomas, the love of her life, and is taking a ship from London to New York at the most dangerous time of the year. Krista is observing in the dreams but also feels she is Mary.
While Krista resists the idea that she lived in another time and place, she feels compelled to visit a psychic recommended by a friend and Madame Zenith, Ruth, tells her some things she couldn’t know from any other source. Her father speaks to her. Ruth calls her by a pet name her late father called her and tells her he was at her party the night her friends gave her a framed picture of a day he remembers so clearly. Then, Ruth relays a message from someone who had drowned on a sailing ship called Ocean Queen. Someone named Mary.
As Krista flies off to Britain she is confused but the dreams continue. Sometimes when she looks in the mirror, it’s a stranger looking back at her and yet, there’s recognition. When she meets her guide Aaron, in England, there’s an electricity between them and she’s certain he has the memories of Thomas just as she has the memories of Mary.
Paranormal is not usually a genre I delve into but this story is interesting and well-planned. I found the third person narrative about Aaron and his family to be easier to read than the first person narrative by Krista where I felt the language was often stilted as if the author was trying too hard to impress. There seemed to be too much daily minutiae during Krista’s narratives, as well, that bogged the story down a bit and I often wished that her dreams were in italics as it would have made it easier to follow. That said, it was a cozy read with quite a bit of romance in the old-fashioned sense (very little sex) and it was an enjoyable read. * * *
Cozy Read Wednesday is a recent meme. No list of rules — just leave a comment with a link to your Cozy Read published on Wednesday and feel free to use the Cozy Read Wednesday icon on your site. I look forward to your recommendations.