I don’t give people stars for their reviews for the books that I read. However, for me a book has to deliver three key elements to engage my interest in the first place and keep me reading to the end. These three elements are Physical, Mental and Emotional connection to the story, characters and narrative.
Even if I was not familiar with Jo Robinson’s writing in other books, her blog and her social media posts, and was reading her work for the first time I would certainly be emotionally drawn in.
Donna is the main character of Echoes of Narcissus and from the first time you meet her you know and feel both her fear and her pain. This empathy is not drawn from a text book description of how the victim of a narcissistic personality feels, but from some experience and deep understanding of this form of corrosive relationship. Mentally I enjoy a story that is well researched and then crafted to ensure I understand it well.
After 30 years of living with the daily anticipation of dismissive disdain and rigid control, Donna now aged 55 reached a crossroads in her life. Having been isolated deliberately from outside influence for those years, it is almost as frightening being tantalised by freedom, as it is being incarcerated.
But life intrudes, as do people without an agenda, who reach out a hand expecting nothing in return. People who share her passion for nature and who have themselves esperienced the harsh realities of life.
Marco, Donna’s husband is portrayed with chilling and menacing accuracy and his presence makes you physically want to intrude into the story to protect his fragile victim.
But, out of the darkness and with a courage that is nurtured by her new friends, Donna finally understands that she has to fight to survive and move on.
She is helped unexpectedly by unforseen events that for many people would seem to be the final straw, but for Donna offer an open door to pass through if she is only brave enough to take it.
If you have experienced the behaviour of narcisstic people in your life then you will immediately identify with the characters and the story. If you have not had that pleasure then I suggest you read because it is an absorbing plot with real people and experiences woven into a tale of despair, rejuvenation, hope and the discovery of love in new places.
I would recommend that you read Echoes of Narcissus in the Gardens of Delight as it certainly gave me great pleasure.
You can buy the book from these links and please do follow Jo’s blog if you do not already do so.