Respected professor Jack Owens brought his son, Danny, to Gilbert, Indiana, to escape a betrayal too painful to endure anywhere but in this quiet midwestern college town. After ten years, Jack believed they were safe. But on a seemingly ordinary day, the world Jack thought he knew and the future he anticipated abruptly come apart at the seams, leaving him haunted by the questions: Why? and What next? Redemption, however, could come with the arrival of an unexpected friend whose prescient understanding slowly helps Jack cope with the unacceptable. But with healing comes clarity—and secrets best left unrevealed by the stark, glaring light of day.
Wind and water and shoreline cant be changed. We have to work with the elements as they are. So writes longtime Buddhist practitioner and social worker Hill Anderson in Stoneport, a sophisticated novel that explores the figurative shorelines, or borders, between men and women, thought and emotion, and truth and fiction.
Intricate without unnecessary complexity, Stoneport weaves several story lines together to create whole cloth. When first introduced, Eli Fox is a young man. Eventually, he becomes an experienced therapist and supervises a bright young doctor named Meagan Rush. The story follows their unorthodox relationship, along with the traumas of the patients they counsel and ground-shaking changes in the field of behavioral medicine itself.
Andersons decades of experience is evident in his refined descriptions of his characters deepest doubts and highest hopes. His language is precise and evocative. For instance, he summarizes Elis childhood memories with lines like, He remembered his childhood with a sense of defeat and the awareness of a wound that did not bleed. Andersons imagery brings thoughts and emotions vividly to life.
Sea metaphors are central to Andersons storytelling, and his tale fittingly moves like a gently bobbing boat in a quiet harbor before he unleashes a storm of conflict. Eli, Meagan, their confused clients, and eccentric colleagues become familiar friends, and then the questions begin. Is Eli and Meagans relationship inappropriate? Will its exposure ruin Elis career? Are the therapists being forced into unethical treatment methods by the encroaching insurance industry? Anderson skillfully paces the action so that these conflicts almost simultaneously reach peak tension.
Five Star Clarion Review by Sheila M. Trask
When Maya Taylor, an English professor with a tendency to hide in her books, sends her daughter to Florida to look after a friend’s child, she does so with the best of intentions; it’s a chance for Ellie, twenty and spiraling, to rebuild her life. But in the sprawling hours of one humid afternoon, Ellie makes a mistake she cannot take back. In two separate timelines—before and after the catastrophe—Maya and Ellie must try to repair their fractured relationship and find a way to transcend not only their differences but also their more troubling similarities. "[Melding] psychological insight, precise plotting and limpid prose" (Huffington Post), Lynn Steger Strong traces the anatomy of a mistake and the weight of culpability. Hold Still marks a taut and propulsive debut that "builds to a perfect crescendo, an ending that is both surprising and true" (Marcy Dermansky, author of The Red Car).