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10th Grade202432 Stories4th of July99 DaysA Change in AltitudeA Demon in My ViewA Dream of WolvesA Falling KnifeA Finely Tuned Apathy MachineA Heart of StoneA Life Lived RidiculouslyA Multitude of SinsA Parting GiftA Question of BloodA Quiet PlaceA Red Heart of MemoriesA River SutraA Short History of Tractors in UkrainianA Slight Trick of the MindA Stir of BonesA Thousand Miles from NowhereA Voyage Long and StrangeA Wedding in December About a BoyAbraham LincolnAcross the River and Into the TreesActs of GodAfrican PsychoAfter DarkAfter YouAfter You'd GoneAfterwardsAgenda for MurderAliens in the Prime of Their LivesAll Alone in the UniverseAll Families Are PsychoticAll in the MindAll the Way HomeAltered LandAlternatives to SexAmanda's WeddingAmelia RulesAmericaAmerica AmericaAmnesiaAmong the DepartedAn Object of BeautyAngelsAngry Youth Comix #2AnimosityAnne SextonAre You Experienced?Aristotle and Poetic JusticeAristotle DetectiveArlington ParkArtemis FowlAs Hot as It Was You Ought to Thank MeAsking For MurderAtonementAway Laughing on a Fast CamelBabylon and Other StoriesBad BoyBad SeedBag Of BonesBalancing ActsBarbara the Slut and Other PeopleBeach RoadBeat the ReaperBeautiful GirlsBed of RosesBefore I Go to SleepBefore the FrostBeg the QuestionBeginner's GreekBellyBeneath the SkinBenedictionBest New American VoicesBig BrotherBilly and GirlBiteBlack & WhiteBlack HelicoptersBlack Market TruthBlameBlanketsBleed for MeBlind SightBlonde FaithBlood, Salt, WaterBlueprints for Building Better GirlsBody SurfingBoneMan's DaughtersBoneyardBoneyardBoomsdayBorder CrossingBoth Ways Is the Only Way I Want ItBoysBracketBrain TrustBrava, ValentineBreaking Out of BedlamBreathing UnderwaterBrick LaneBridge of SighsBridget JonesBridget Jones's DiaryBrief Interviews with Hideous MenBruisesBrŁselBullyBurn, Bitchy, BurnButterflyBy BloodBy The Sea ShoreCalled to KillCanadaCanvasCaricatureCase HistoriesCellCemetery DanceChange of HeartChangesChasing the DimeChild 44Cinema PanopticumCinnamon KissCirceCircle NineCity of the LostClay's WayClose toYouClose Your EyesCloud 9 AffairCoincidenceCold CaseCold HitCold in HandCollected StoriesCome Up and See Me SometimeComfort and JoyCompulsionConfessions of a ShopaholicConfessions of an Ex-GirlfriendConsider LoveCouch FictionCrispinCross CountryCruddyCrumpleCutCypherDaddy's GirlsDakotaDamageDancing After HoursDanger in High PlacesDanger! 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This is curious read about a woman who reluctantly returns to
her hometown for the first time in 30 years for her high school
reunion. Old friendships, old infatuations, and old rivalries
resurface rekindling faded dreams and threatening to destroy her
Acts of God is primarily set in the small town of Winonah,
about an hour from Chicago. Tess Winterstone, who has not stepped
foot in Winonah since she left for college, has returned for her
30th high school reunion. This unwanted gift from her
grown children ("Go, and enjoy yourself.") proves to
be a major turning point and opportunity for growth for Tess.
At the reunion, she encounters Nick and Patrick, old flames whose
fire for Tess still burns. She also encounters her two childhood
friends, Vicky and Margaret, Nick's current wife. Through a series
of flashbacks, Tess reviews her memories of her childhood and
teen years in Winonah. Dominating her memories is her strange
relationship with Margaret. Margaret whose hot-tempered, impulsiveness,
and sexy exotic beauty captivated the men that populated Tess'
high school years, has hardened into an overweight and overly
made-up spiteful shrew. Tess, on the other hand, has softened
her legalistic, straight-laced ways and she has firmed up her
adolescent plain-jane plumpness into the sexy womanliness of a
midlife natural beauty. Soon the best and worst of her past relationships
begin to intrude into her comfortable Californian lifestyle filled
with radical children, a media mogul ex-husband, and dreams of
running her own cliffside B&B. As Tess' home and personal
life teeter on the brink of cliffside disaster, she rediscovers
why she abandoned her past in Winonah to begin a new life far
from her past. Will Tess let her life and her home slide away
in the wake of the oncoming storm? Or will she resolve strength
her home and to risk life built of a rocky future?
The strength of Act of God is based on the author's ability
to evoke a sense of place. Whether it is natural wild of the pacific
coastline or the complacent domesticity of mid-western farmlands,
this author makes it a very real sensory experience. This novel
is filled not only with the sights, but also the sounds, smells,
and tactile feelings of life as they are experienced by Tess.
Her settings are as bold and demanding as her characters. While
her characters are solidly drawn, the real stars of this novel
are her descriptive settings. This may in part be due to the authors
previous experience writing her travel memoirs. It is not that
her characters are weak, but only that her settings steal the
Act of God is a novel about coming to terms with one's
past. Tess is many ways has moved on with her life, yet in others
way, her movement is merely an act of running away and not completely
resolving past issues. When confronted face to face with her past,
her neat arranged present begins to crumple. Other characters,
Margaret and Nick, are mire in the past and have not even tried
to escape or resolve it. When Tess arrives, their neatly configured
bi-level world explodes apart. Two characters, Patrick and Vicky,
have been able to come to terms with the past, and while they
still reside in their hometown, they have truly moved on with
their lives. Of all the characters, their stroll down memory land
although filled with sighs of "if only"s demand relationships
based in the present and not on what once was. This novel is an
excellent example of why even if one could go home again, why
it might not be a good idea to even try.
Mary Morris is a best-selling author. She is the author of four
previous novels (Crossroads (1983), A Mother's Love
(1993), House Arrest (1996), and The Night Sky (1997),
three travel memoirs (Wall to Wall: From Beijing to Berlin
by Rail (1992), Angels and Aliens: A Journey West (1999),
Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Women Traveling Alone
(1999)) and three short story collections (The Bus of Dreams
(1986), Vanishing Animals and Other Stories (1991), and
The Lifeguard (1997)). Her fifth and latest novel is Acts
of God (2000). She teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College
and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and daughter.
Act of God is an interesting blend of psychological suspense,
mystery, and quirky realism. The reader is invited into a very
real world that slowly begins to resemble a psychological Twilight
Zone. A satisfying walk down memory lane filled with many blind
© 2002 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education: B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University,
M.L.S. in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State College,
M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral Counseling from Fairfield
University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from New Brunswick
Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister
of the United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library
Science at Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental
Health: She is interested in the interplay between psychology,
biology, and mysticism. Her current area of research is in the
impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.
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