|Far From Maddy is the second book I’ve read from C.C. Saint-Clair, the first having been Morgan in the Mirror. Saint-Clair is, in my opinion, the undisputed mistress of the sensual storyline: in my years of reading an assortment of love scenes made indiscernible by metaphors and repressed sexuality, she holds the lead in her ability to write a love scene that absolutely boils over with emotional and sensual detail.
Jo tried to survive her childhood family tragedies the best she could–her mother’s illness, alcoholism and suicide, her father’s emotional absence and the loss of her much older sister when that sibling left home–but her love for Maddy triggers fear of being emotionally dependent and vulnerable despite their loving relationship. That fear leads to Jo’s “disappearance.”
In Far From Maddy, a romantic escape to the beach suddenly becomes a day of terror: Maddy returns with a bottle of brandy and two plastic tumblers to find the picnic table where she had left her lover, Jo, empty. When Jo does not return from the beach, Maddy goes through a frantic week of searching for her, dealing with Brisbane police who completely dismiss her relationship with the girl and advise Maddy, “Perhaps you need to have a chat with her boyfriend and see if she’s missin’…”
Jo has taken to the streets, living rough, in the Australian vernacular, in an attempt to run from her past and her fear of loss tied into her love for Maddy, but also to find the strength to confront and come to terms with the demons she hides inside. Maddy teams up with Officer Christen Jensen and begins a desperate search to find Jo and bring her home before it’s too late.
Maddy’s fear and mental exhaustion are real, made even more so by society’s failure to recognize same-sex relationships and give them the same credence as a heterosexual one in cases of crime or disappearance.
Far From Maddy is an outstanding read that keeps the reader bound to the book and its two protagonists, Jo and Maddy, until the final page is turned.
Pam Harrison – professional and freelance writer and resides near Fort Knox, Kentucky.