Brother and sister Tim and Naomi West are both lost, in their own ways. Tim wakes up in a forest, alone and with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He sets out on a rambling path, hoping to regain his memories and eventually find his way home.
Meanwhile, Naomi is at a cult recovery center in Arizona, refusing to speak as she maps out the trails that let her there, and waits for Tim to find her again.
This is the best book I’ve ever hated reading. It ripped my heart completely out of my chest. I defy any reader to come away from this story without an intense emotional connection to the characters, and an equally intense empathy for their circumstances.
There is a parallel here between Naomi’s disappointment with her mother’s failure to live up to her parental role, and Tim’s disappointment in the Native culture he idealizes not living up to its traditions. The two siblings deal with their betrayal in completely different ways; Naomi becomes harder, walling herself off, while Tim keeps searching, with increasing desperation for his place. This pattern, which begins early in their life, becomes literal after the events that lead to the beginning of the book. Naomi is living behind a wall of silence, while Tim ranges the American West, looking for someplace to call home.
Ritter’s writing is beautiful, expressive and flawless. She paints urban and rural settings with equal skill, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the story.
This is a book you can’t afford to miss, but be sure to have a box of tissues with you when you crack it open!
Title: From These Ashes
Author: Tamela Ritter
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication: Battered Suitcase Press (February 27, 2013)
Price: $4.99 (ebook, all formats), $14.15 (paperback)
Author’s Website: http://tamelajritter.com/