by Deborah C. (Highland Park, NJ): This book might be subtitled, “What we do for love”: love of place, nature, parents, children, siblings; romantic love and illicit love, platonic and physical.

This remarkable collection of linked stories is told in different voices from different times, with many contemporaneous social and cultural issues explored. These range from colonial settlers in the 17th century, to apple growers in the 18th, to the slave catcher in mid-19th century, the séance in the early 20th century, and the treatment of mental illness in the mid-20th.

There are riddles, ballads, and ghost stories, and writing that seems to come right from the first-hand accounts of captured colonial settlers as well as Victorian authors like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, and 1950’s-60’s pulp crime fiction. The North Woods gradually comes into view as the dense forests and mountains of western Massachusetts. Over time the forest is transformed by nature and man, and yet the home site, a yellow house built in the 1700’s, remains, serving as place for varied epiphanies as it is visited by new people and old ghosts. As the author writes, “The only way to see the world other than a tale of loss is to see it as a tale of change.”

This book captures both loss and change, giving a vivid and thought-provoking perspective on humans and their humanity across time