Friday, January 30, 2009
THE BLIND FAITH HOTEL by Pamela Todd
Zoe has always had a love affair with nature. Growing up on the Northwest coast and spending all her free time with her father on his fishing boat, practically made her one with the sea. When her mother and father separate and her mother drags her halfway across the country to the Midwestern plains, Zoe thinks her world has come to an end.
Why do they have to move? They've move a lot in the past several years, but that's been moving to keep up with work. Having her father gone for months at a time on fishing boats is just part of life for Zoe, her older sister Nelia and her younger brother Ollie. They seem to take it in stride. Why can't their mother do the same?
This time is different for some reason. Zoe's mother packs them and all their belongings up in a U-haul and they head east. They're going to the town where their mother grew up. The old family house is now hers and she insists it is just the place for a bed-and-breakfast. Just what does her mother know about running a business anyway and how can she take them away from their father?
After a grueling trip where nothing goes right, they finally arrive. The house that supposedly holds so many memories for her mother turns out to be a rundown mess. Just about everything needs replacing so workmen are soon swarming all over the place. With her mother knee deep in renovations and her sister and brother busy with newfound friends, Zoe finds herself feeling like she usually does - out of place. She makes one new friend, but that hardly makes up for the fact that she hates school and misses her father more than she could have ever imagined.
Zoe gets more attention than she bargained for when she makes the stupid mistake of shoplifting some bust-enhancing cream. When she tries to return it and right her mistake, she is taken to the police station and later appears in court. Her sentence is a list of strict guidelines and community service work at a nearby nature preserve.
It may not be the saltwater sea she is used to, but the sea of prairie grass where she spends her Saturdays soon becomes a fascinating and magical place. That along with a mysterious boy named Ivy might make this new place a home Zoe can learn to love and appreciate.
Author Pamela Todd takes readers on a journey not only across the country, but also into the life of a young girl forced to leave behind the father she loves and the only place she's ever felt at home. Todd gives readers a feeling for Zoe's pain and loneliness, and at the same time, artfully describes the Midwest prairie as nature's ultimate garden. THE BLIND FAITH HOTEL is not a story filled with rock em' sock em' action, but anyone who appreciates a story with emotion, feeling, and the beauty of nature is sure to enjoy this one.