Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Edge of Eden-Helen Benedict

The Edge of Eden
Helen Benedict
Soho, Nov 1 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9781569476024

In 1960, the Colonial Office informs lowest tier British diplomat Rupert that he is being assigned to the French Creole speaking Seychelle Islands in the Indian Ocean. His wife Penelope is outraged with the assignment’s location and Rupert’s blithely ordering her that she and their two daughters accompany him. On the sea voyage to the isolated Crown Colony, Penelope becomes sea sick while Rupert flirts with another female so ignores his two children as the eight year old Zara bullies her three years old sibling.

Upon reaching their destination, Penelope feels like an outsider even with her family, but not with the Colonial Governor. Her children take to the island “paradise” as if they lived there all their lives. Rupert focuses more on his native secretary Joelle instead of the economics report he is to develop or his family. When the marriage collapses, Zara turns to the local witch doctors for a love spell to reunite her family while now pregnant Joelle turns to the same grigri magical practitioners to send Penelope back to England without her Rupert. Desperate to save her marriage and family, Penelope also pleads with the black magical users for help.

This is an intriguing historical thriller that readers will enjoy though wonder what the three females see in Rupert, which is one of their two constants (the other being each turns to grigri), as the women’s inspirational muses seem to change with each calamity. The story line is fast-paced while also hyperbolizing satire to make a point about clashing civilizations. THE EDGE OF EDEN is an engaging psychological suspense tale as the audience wonders who will be the last female standing on the Seychelles and will Rupert be at her side.

Harriet Klausner

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