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Far From Here    by Nicole Baart order for
Far From Here
by Nicole Baart
Order:  USA  Can
Howard, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I now know why I gave up writing. Nicole Baart, author of Far From Here, has the voice I wanted to have but never achieved. If I can't produce work with her intensity and grace, I'm happy reviewing others' writing.

Far From Here was a real treat to read. The story is very poignant. Danica Greene, who has always feared the idea of flying, had the bad luck to fall in love with a pilot. Her fear is no mere whim. She actually physically manifests dread of leaving the earth. When her husband Etsell is offered a temporary job flying in Alaska, he can hardly turn it down. His lifetime dream! Not hers.

Etsell does not return home. In fact, he is listed as missing and the Civil Air Patrol, as well as private citizens, search for weeks for him and his downed plane. No trace. The remainder of this wonderful plot deals with Danica's attempts to weather what to her is a nightmare. Coming to grips with Etsell's absence is exacerbated by not knowing whether he left her willingly or perished in an accident. When it appears that another woman is involved, it tears her heart out and leaves a gaping wound.

The characters who surround her seem as true flesh and blood as Dani does: her mom Char (who apparently never read the manual on how to be a mother); her sister Kat, a free spirit and Dani's lifeline; her eldest sister Natalie, who holds the reins on doing the right thing; Dani's next door neighbor Benjamin, a pastor who always seems to know what to say and do: Etsell's grumpy foster mother Hazel; and Samantha, a pilot in the Alaskan wilds.

All these people gather to bring Dani back to her place in the world. Far From Here is a not-to-be-missed novel. I think you can guess I loved this book. Baart's use of words is enviable.

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