The Soul Retrieval by Ann W. Jarvie

The Soul Retrieval by Ann W. Jarvie
Publisher: JazzComm Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (436 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

Inspired by a true story, The Soul Retrieval is a suspenseful tale of love, loss and healing which follows traumatized southern beauty Henrietta Clayborn as she moves between her home in a small South Carolina town and the New Mexico Native American reservation whose spontaneous healings keep drawing her physician husband back. Tortured by her awful secrets, Henrietta struggles to thrive in either locale, but it is her unlikely friendship with Joe Loco–an eccentric Native American mystic with an Elvis fetish and a gift for healing–that shows her the way to be whole again.

Set in the late 1950s, The Soul Retrieval is richly woven with spiritual insights but also deadly secrets, forbidden healings, a murder mystery, stunning scenery and an unforgettable cast of characters.

A story of transcendent and inspiring power that is both entertaining and enlightening, readers will be cheering for the uptight woman from South Carolina to push through her fears of the forbidden as she searches for truth and healing, faces great obstacles on the frontier of self and ultimately becomes more than she ever thought possible.

Ann W. Jarvie’s The Soul Retrieval is a novel with a touch of mystery with an additional sense of the personal journey story. Set in the 1950s, it presents an odd perspective on a people and their customs, as we see mainly through the eyes of transplanted southern gal Henrietta Clayborn.

Somehow, Joe Loco becomes a garish caricature: a Native who’s tendency to dress like Elvis blends weirdly with his mystical abilities. Henrietta’s got her own issues and much though she’d like to ignore them, she finds herself sharing with Joe. He’s got insight and he says he has medicine; ancient medicine that will work a soul retrieval.

Conversations between them achieve an odd intimacy that claims the reader’s attention. Its not a romantic intimacy; they are both married to others. However, Joe’s sense of Henrietta’s pain, and his willingness to help, creates a strange relationship between them. Even though Henrietta also finds him odd, she finds herself sharing with him. Their conversations can be flippant, or silly or even argumentative, yet, each is somehow heartfelt. As odd As Joe Loco is, we don’t doubt what he sees. And, one cannot help but feel for Henrietta. While the evil in her past might seem to be the chief trouble, her current life is by no means easy. She finds herself confronting those that might be termed ‘evil’ even in her current life.

Although Henrietta’s pain and struggles do reach the reader, some aspects of this story are difficult to believe and tend to draw one away from the story. Characters are not always true to character. However, the story is incredibly original. On one level The Soul Retrieval speaks to friendship, and on another addresses all kinds of healing. It’s very original and very worth reading.

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