WILDWOMAN by Chris Marrs is now available from JournalStone here and here. This dark fantasy short novel is published with FROZEN SHADOWS, a short novel by Gene O’Neill, as part of JournalStone’s “double down” series of flip books. Full disclosure for this review: Chris is my girlfriend. In fact, it was our mutual love of writing that initially brought us together.
WILDWOMAN tells the story of Julie, a bullied young girl who meets a giant hairy girl in the forest named Yani. These two outcasts form a special bond that summer until Yani disappears. Then another girl in the town disappears, and another. Then they stop.
Years later, Julie moves back to her hometown with her daughter, and the disappearances begin again. And Julie suspects that Yani, whom she’d begun to remember as an imaginary friend, has returned.
Chris writes from the heart on this character-driven story. You really feel Julie’s pain and isolation from childhood to adulthood. Chris accomplishes something I believe is difficult for many writers, which is portraying a life via snapshots over a short work. Time jumps ahead repeatedly to reveal a sad life punctuated with painful and happy moments, and the reader makes those jumps easily without losing interest.
The dark fantasy element of the story is revealed in pieces and remains a tantalizing mystery until the climax, where Julie truly finds out who she is, what’s important to her, and what she’s made of.
I’ve read all of Chris’s work, and I have to say, WILDWOMAN impressed me the most. Check it out.