In 2010, scientist Ellie Ward sets out through Canada’s wild country in a small aircraft with only her student, Brenda, and a two-man crew. What begins as a routine voyage to examine river ice ends in tragedy when the plane is forced to make a crash landing within the treacherous mountains. Brenda, young and frightened, remains the only uninjured survivor and the only hope for summoning a rescue from far beyond the reaches of communication and scope. To motivate her, as well as to distract her from the terror of their plight, Ellie entrusts Brenda with the personal journal that documents her unusual life. As she summons the courage to save herself and her mentor, Brenda finds herself drawn into the journal and Ellie’s astonishing secret. Serving as a memoir of her multiple lives, the journal describes Ellie’s ability to return to the defining moments of her life through a portal in time where she’s given a chance to relive her years and alter the mistakes she made – mistakes that eventually led her to heartbreak, grief, and harrowing loss.
Alternating between Ellie’s first-person narrative in 1970s Canada and a third-person depiction of Brenda’s quandary in the present day, Defining Moments presents a remarkably creative and truly unique story, delivered in an equally original way. Ellie is bold and brassy in her youth, and the reader is given a meaningful look at the depth of a woman’s character and passion as she discovers the blessing of second chances and grows to understand the fragility of love, the pain of loss, and the beauty of life. The reader is given the unique opportunity of cheering on not one strong female character, but two, as Brenda represents another generation and another struggle with the courage to fight and the bravery to open up one’s mind to unlimited possibilities.
Time travel in a novel is a tricky business; for someone who doesn’t read about the topic often it could be easy to find it far-fetched, and I’m someone who truly doesn’t read about the topic often. All the same, I felt perfectly comfortable with the theme as author Faye Hicks explored the frays of time. She encouraged me – through Ellie’s story – to open my mind, and I found myself doing so without difficulty, without even a recollection of a moment’s skepticism. I found myself easily absorbed in the story, instantly connecting with the characters as she introduced them, and ready to fall back to Ellie’s defining moments to relive the story alongside her once again. Ellie’s narrative evolved as her experiences changed her, and while she began to take form to me in a bit of a harsh light initially, the path of her life directs her into the plucky, genuine woman she is at the end: she’s a heroine that isn’t perfect, but she’s doing the best she can, and that’s something I think every reader can both relate to and admire greatly.
The author’s wit combines with a soft, restrained, very real message of courage and hope to make Defining Moments a genuinely fun read, and one that works a special magic on the reader well after the final pages.
Title: Defining Moments
Author: Faye Hicks
Genre: Fantasy, contemporary fiction
Release date: December 19, 2011
Provided by: The Author (c/o)
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