The Effects of Light
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". . controversy erupts and lives are forever altered when a widowed academician allows his two young daughters to pose nude for a series of photographs."
". . .a strong debut novel from a young author. . ."
In Miranda Beverly-Whittemore''s The Effects of Light, controversy erupts and lives are forever altered when a widowed academician allows his two young daughters to pose nude for a series of photographs.
Myla Rose Wolfe and her younger sibling, Prudence May, known to the public only as "Rose" and "May," become the notorious subjects of family friend and photographer Ruth Handel''s artistic photos. Both praised as art and reviled as pornography, the photos take on a life of their own and eventually consume both sisters, albeit in vastly different manners.
Myla eventually flees her home in Oregon, accepts a position at an East Coast college, and changes her name, trying to drown the memories of the photos and the destruction they wrought upon her family in anonymity and alcohol. But fellow professor and new lover, Samuel Blake, reawakens the feelings she has sought in vain to repress when he begins to discuss the controversy surrounding Ruth''s art in his class. Myla leaves the college abruptly and heads home, using the plane fare provided in a mysterious summons from a lawyer in Portland. The lawyer cannot say who Myla''s benefactor is, only that he is to give her some things belonging to her late father, David Wolfe.
The first packet contains a notebook of her father''s "brainstorming" and not "the Book" explaining David''s philosophy on the importance of art that Myla had hoped survived his death. Determined to unravel the riddle of David''s mind, Myla reunites with close family friends Jane and Steve. But Samuel soon arrives on the scene as well. Myla cannot be certain if Samuel is there because he now sees her as Rose, the older girl in the photos–and a fascinating subject of research–or because he really does love her and wishes to support her as she makes peace with her troubled past.
Well-written with many lovely descriptive passages, The Effects of Light is a strong debut novel from a young author who promises to entertain us with many richly told tales in the years to come.
Reviewer: Cindy Appel