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She Lived Another Life – an Editorial Review of “Of Ripeness and the River”

Book Blurb:

Clare Yates lives by a river and teaches in a small Midwestern college city in 1982, six years after leaving her lover in San Francisco. In a “hobo” diary by Jack London, she finds a clue to what she all the time thought was true–she has lived one other life, in a special place and time—she’s had a dream since childhood of a girl in nineteenth century gown operating downhill, a child in her arms, away from a burning home. With the clues from London’s diary, she goes searching for proof of that life. Alternating chapters start to disclose the life of Mary Ferguson, beginning in 1894, whose life is lived alongside one other river, and the two storylines converge as Clare struggles to find her previous life. New and former lovers and rock stars complicate the journey with intense experiences, and give her a mission to finish in the current.

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Author Bio:

Mary F. Burns is the writer of a number of books of historic fiction:

Literary/Historical Fiction:




AT CHALK FARM (2018) A Novella/Sequel to Henry James’s “In the Cage”

THE GRACE OF UNCERTAINTY (2019) A Novella/Sequel to Henry James’s “Crapy Cornelia”


READING MRS. DALLOWAY (2021) A Literary Essay

And she additionally has written novels that includes John Singer Sargent and Violet Paget (Vernon Lee):


THE SPOILS OF AVALON (2014) (first in a thriller collection)

THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES (2019) (second thriller)

THE UNICORN IN THE MIRROR (2020) (third thriller)

THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT (2022) (fourth thriller)

Mary is a member of and e-book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of administrators. She has been an everyday panelist and speaker at the North American Historical Novel Society Conference. She can also be a member of the Henry James Society and the International Vernon Lee Society. Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, the place she earned each Bachelors and Masters levels in English; she additionally holds a J.D. from Golden Gate University. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 the place she now lives along with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood.

For extra data please go to Mary Burns’s web site at

Editorial Review:

As a e-book reader and reviewer, you method every e-book otherwise. The e-book description hints at the plot, the characters, and what to anticipate. Sometimes, the writer or the e-book will fail to ship on these expectations, leaving an unhappy reader and instances the place you don’t hassle to complete studying the e-book. However, there are these instances the place you flip from one web page to the different, fully ignorant of the time, your life, and all of your issues. This e-book matches into the second criterion, the place the writer attracts you in with two characters from completely different timelines and one thing distinctive that connects them. As I begin this evaluate, I wish to commend the writer for her distinctive work, piecing collectively two characters whose lives would in any other case really feel completely different and estranged. Still, their connection makes them and this story an fascinating and thoughts-blowing piece value each flip of the web page.

Wild nights – Wild nights! Were I with thee, Wild nights should be Our luxury!”

These phrases come from a poem that one of the story’s main characters, Clare Yates, reads as she makes an attempt to familiarize herself along with her dwelling after being away. The story begins with Clare returning dwelling, with a sense of loss and devastation, having lately damaged up along with her lover in San Francisco. She tries to rebuild her life, beginning with a brand new job at a state college in her hometown, and attempting to create new relationships with some of her previous mates. However, issues don’t go as deliberate, and the writer graciously exhibits the battle inside Clare. Despite having all the instruments to start out a brand new life in a secure surroundings, Clare nonetheless feels one thing is lacking. All the thrill she had when she was in San Francisco nonetheless calls to her. As such, she feels secure when she goes to the river, and watching the water crashing on the stones reminds her of her life. With these traces from the poem, the writer finds an spectacular means of exhibiting the reader Clare’s dissatisfaction along with her new life, and regardless of the losses, she took-she nonetheless misses San Francisco.

Mary returned the smile with a squeeze of her palms as properly. “Family—children—nearer than ever in heart,” she stated and sighed, remembering how she had wished her mom close to when she was pregnant with Katie. Her daughter and son-in-regulation had returned from their European honeymoon, Katie radiant with the information, Matthew bursting with satisfaction and nervous pleasure.

As the e-book progresses, the writer then connects Clare to an older lady who considerably lived her life years earlier than her. We meet Mary Ferguson. When she is launched, Mary Ferguson is a brand new mom who lives in Iowa and has misplaced her husband and mom to a river flood that swept by means of their city. Through this character, we see the themes of loss, household, and waking up from the useless. Through Mary’s life, we expertise the ache of shedding a beloved one to loss of life, reconciling with an enemy one can’t defeat- the river, and restarting your life after coping with all this. The highlighted assertion exhibits how the prospect of pleasure and hope had helped her transfer on from her husband’s and mom’s loss of life. It’s doable the writer created Mary for this story to point out us actual grief and loss and how Clare’s life, in an age a lot better for ladies, appeared nearly insignificant in comparison with Mary’s.

Love goes on. It never dies. Trust it. Trust your love. See where it takes you.”

These are the final phrases in the e-book that Clare reads and may be seen as an instrument utilized by the writer for juxtaposition and hyperbole from one of the characters. The relationship between the two characters is the one facet that makes the e-book so engaging, with the writer utilizing quite a few literary gadgets to make these comparisons. The writer makes use of this to attach the two characters and how completely different their priorities are. Mary is a widow preventing psychological sickness as a result of of the grief and loss she confronted in life. To her, the river will all the time stay an important half of her life as a result of it took away the two of the most essential folks in her life at the second. The future is unsure and hopeful as a result of her daughter is married to a superb man. On the different hand, Clare is a center-aged lady who can’t transfer on along with her life regardless of having every thing she wants to maneuver on. We are proven that whereas Mary associates the river with grief and anger, Clare sees it as an extension of her reminiscences from San Francisco. While each girls’s lives are modified by males who come into their lives, Mary’s male associate places her on an upward trajectory whereas Clare’s life is shipped on a downward trajectory. The writer efficiently connects these two characters regardless of residing in numerous societies and lifetimes.

Maybe Clare and Mary are related, and possibly they’re either side of a coin. Despite all this uncertainty, one factor stays clear-with out Mary Burns’ genius; then this story would have failed. The transition from previous to current was very fluid, making it easy to maintain monitor of the a number of characters. Her fascinating use of phrases transports the reader into every historic interval, feeling the distress, grief, love, discovery, forgiveness, and reconciliation every key character experiences. Truly beloved studying this e-book and would counsel this e-book to followers of excessive-high quality literary works.


“Of Ripeness and the River” by Mary L. Burns receives 5 stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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