When summer comes to the North Woods, time slows down. And some days it stops altogether. The sky, gray and lowering for much of the year, becomes an ocean of blue, so vast and brilliant you can't help but stop what you're doing--pinning wet sheets to the line maybe, or shucking a bushel of corn on the back steps--to stare up at it. Locusts whir in the birches, coaxing you out of the sun and under the boughs, and the heat stills the air, heavy and sweet with the scent of balsam.
As I stand here on the porch of the Glenmore, the finest hotel on all of Big Moose Lake, I tell myself that today--Thursday, July 12, 1906--is such a day. Time has stopped, and the beauty and calm of this perfect afternoon will never end. The guests up from New York, all in their summer whites, will play croquet on the lawn forever. Old Mrs. Ellis will stay on the porch until the end of time, rapping her cane on the railing for more lemonade. The children of doctors and lawyers from Utica, Rome and Syracuse will always run through the woods, laughing and shrieking, giddy from too much ice cream.
I believe these things. With all my heart. For I am good at telling myself lies.
A Gathering Light
British title for A Northern Light
Jennifer Donnelly is an exceptional writer, and I look forward to exploring her backlist and newer releases. As Dinah Hall, a reviewer for Sunday Telegraph so amusingly declared:
"Nobody got fed while I read A Gathering Light: if George Clooney had walked into the room I would have told him to come back later when I'd finished... Donelly captures period and place with almost supernatural skill, and even the most minor of characters are so vivid that you find yourself talking out loud to them."