Published by Riptide Publishing on May 20, 2013
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Since finding her father’s body at the bottom of the basement stairs, Annette’s been drifting through her days, watching cars pass down the rural Ontario crossroads beside her house. Her brothers have no great ambitions, but Annette remembers a time when she did. She just can’t remember what they are.
Then she meets her neighbour, Sadie, a tattooed, world-weary, newly single portrait artist. Something about Sadie awakens something in Annette—the essence she captures in her subjects, perhaps, or the way the old familiar crossroads seem so fresh and promising from the view out Sadie’s window.
Annette begins to help Sadie, cleaning brushes and filing invoices between long lazy afternoons of conversations and shared silences. Soon, though, Annette wants more from her enigmatic neighbor, and their slowly heating friendship melts into passionate nights. Somewhere along the way, Annette discovers that her lover has illuminated for her, as with the people Sadie paints, not just her essence but her own endless worlds of possibilities.
Erin: Short stories (ones with less than 75 pages) are not usually my thing, but the premise of Portrait of a Crossroads snagged my attention. This was a very quick read and not at all what I expected. For something so short, it sure packed a lot of story into such a limited word count. Quiet and gentle, Rand’s portrayal of Annette at the crossroads of her young life was so engaging and held my interest from beginning to end.
The writing was evocative and almost ethereal at times. Annette’s journey of self discovery in terms of her attraction to her neighbor, Sadie, as well as coming to grips with the death of her father was handled with care. Telling this story in third person definitely lent itself to the quiet atmosphere of the book. The sex scene was done very well and realistically and while I would have liked more of Annette and Sadie, I also liked the open-ended feel of the ending. I definitely think this is a book that will appeal to anyone looking for a quick, well-written, engaging story.