Every now and then we encounter a writer with an extraordinary gift. We have found such a writer in Edith Edwards.

These rare souls are more than simple run-of-the-mill, everyday storytellers. They have an ability that many of us sorely and sadly lack. Some writers have the ability to put us in a place. Some authors have the ability to put us in another’s shoes. Most wielders of the pen can do that, albeit some better than others. But the writers who truly stand apart from the crowd are the writers who have the ability to put us squarely inside another’s head. Edith Edwards has that singular, uncanny talent.

The Ghosts of Turtle Nest is the story of bright, ambitious Connie Edmonds. Thirty years ago, Connie failed to help prevent the suicide of a fellow WAC, then lied at the investigation. The WAC’s father, a prominent senator, vows to make Connie’s life miserable.

In spite of this, Connie has built the most successful real estate development company in eastern North Carolina. But guilt from her earlier actions, added to the pressure of dealing with the malicious senator, push Connie to the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Suzanne Marshburn, a ghost of the Civil War era, warns Connie through a spiritual medium about the dangers of blaming herself. Suzanne has her own secrets to hide—secrets of betrayal, murder, and mental illness. Connie learns of the murder of a cruel slave owner and the story of the death of a Confederate spy. Additionally, she must challenge the spirit that appears whenever she becomes close to a man.

Father Robin Benson, priest of the local Episcopal Church, has fallen in love with Connie. Robin also wrestles demons that threaten his relationships. Set in coastal North Carolina, local history and beauty interweave in this unforgettable story, with characters becoming forces of their own.

All of that, in and of itself, promises to be a wonderfully good read, based on just the plot alone. But this book is so much more than that. Edith Edwards takes us from the coasts of North Carolina to the jungles of Vietnam with equal ease. One moment we can feel the warm, salty water lapping at our ankles while the blazingly hot sun and cool breezes wash simultaneously over the rest of our body. The next moment we experience a person being gruesomely blown to smithereens right in front of our face, torn apart by a surprise landmine. In both cases we feel as though we are right there, in that scene. One minute we are speaking with a decided Southern accent and the next we are swearing like the proverbial drill sergeant. In both cases we can feel it. We can hear it. We live it. Truly she is a master of the descriptive phrase.

Edith’s ability to deftly turn a phrase is outshone only by her ability to allow us to overhear the internal dialogue that her characters experience. Describing a feeling is one thing; experiencing a feeling is quite another. Edith does not describe her character’s feelings. No indeed. She allows us to experience these feelings in such depth that it is at times excruciating. This is the mark of true talent. This is a skill that cannot be taught, nor can it be learned. It is innate. It is natural. It is a gift. And she has it.

Edwards takes us on a journey that is at once physical, mental and spiritual. It is almost as though we walk with her through the minds of these delightful characters. This is what great writing is all about. This is why we read; no not for the words but for the experience. It is the ability to create this experience in another that the mediocre writer lacks.

When we think back on those stories we have enjoyed the most in the past, I would hazard a guess that we fell in love with these tales because we fell out of our own bodies for a time and into the body of another – the character’s body. These books were not just a collection of pages we leafed through to pass an hour or two. These stories sucked us in and we were deaf and blind to the real world for a time. Like Dorothy in the tornado we were slammed down hard into an alternate reality – a fairy tale that, though not real, certainly seemed so.

This is the hallmark of the great piece of fiction. Edith Edwards has created such a piece here in The Ghosts of Turtle Nest.

Don McCauley ICM, MTC, CH is a writer, an editor and is the author of ‘Learn To Live A Life Without Problems’. More information is available at http://www.heavenonearthsystem.com

Be Sociable, Share!