Leah – Dana K. Haffar

I was very excited to be contacted by the author directly, asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her e-book, ‘Leah.’  Dana kindly emailed it to my Kindle, Charlotte, and I started reading that very day.  Thirteen year old Leah was said to have drowned at sea.  The inhabitants of the community where she lived – the remote island of Puerto Franco – believe that a curse overhangs them since her death thirty years ago.

‘Every candle in the village church burned for a mother’s loss yet it did not escape the villagers’ notice that their island had no more seasons.  Squalls and tempests flared up unexpectedly on a still summer’s day… Gales whipped up shrapnel of debris and chased the villagers indoors.

They blamed Cristina for not letting go of her daughter’s spirit… In time, even those who shared her grief became resentful of her self-pity.  With bitterness and fear in their hearts, they vowed to stay away from Leah’s mother and her only remaining child, Sebastian.’

Thirty years later, artist Mar with her daughter, Lemay leave the mainland to visit Puerto Franco under the pretence of spending time on her art whereas the truth is Mar wants to escape her controlling husband, Oscar.  Mar is eyed with suspicion and made to feel welcome by only a small handful of the villagers, who include the motherly Clara and the fisherman, Sebastian.  Lemay, bored with having to sit and watch her mother paint, strikes up a friendship with Sebastian and gradually so do Mar and Sebastian much to the anger of Sebastian’s troubled, volatile and cruel girlfriend, Manuela.  The characters in this novel all play their part very well and when Oscar unexpectedly arrives on tes island, you can only watch helplessly as they all head towards their final, desperate climax.

Running alongside this main story is the story of Leah.  She ‘appears’ to Mar and begins to leave clues that lead the artist towards a frightening realisation of what actually happened on the island thirty years ago.  I loved this supernatural feel and would have liked more of it, if possible.  The author plays this well and I hope her future books will also have this mystical element to them.

‘Leah’ is currently available to purchase from amazon for Kindle at the special price of $1.99US.

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