Into the Dim, Janet B. Taylor (HMH)
Into the Dim manages to be realistic and fantastical at once, as we follow Hope Walton from present-day Georgia, to Scotland, to 12th-Century England. After Hope’s mother Sarah is declared dead in an earthquake in India, Hope’s father is moving on with his life and his new girlfriend (!), but Hope is feeling more lost and trapped in her world of crippling phobias and migraines than ever before. Even her gift – a truly eidetic memory – can paralyze her, if she does not carefully control the flood of information. When the future -- and more – opens up to her, requiring more of her than she feels she has to give … how will she meet the challenge? Who can she trust completely, now that the person she relied on most is gone forever? Into the Dim is a wild ride that is also a personal journey, and one that is well worth taking.
Hope was extremely close to her mother, home-schooled and raised in a fairly isolated manner, with her mother as her guiding light. It was a loving relationship, and Hope has been a good student, learning to control her fears and tame her wild memory skills, but still she always depended on her mother. Now that her mother is gone, she is mired in justifiable sadness and a fair bit of self-pity, only after months, finally believing that her mother has actually died.
Although I found the evil characters a little one-dimensional, I really enjoyed Into the Dim, and I liked it more and more as it went on. I found myself hurrying to read it and not wanting to stop because it was really an adventure as much as anything else, although there is romance, as well. The 12th Century episodes also rang very true, and I appreciated that Ms. Taylor gave us a realistic view of the very smells of the time instead of an overly sanitized view. I couldn’t help myself from seeing Eleanor of Aquitaine as Kate Hepburn (á là “The Lion in Winter”), but that was not really much of a problem. It was a nice attempt at bringing such a famous personage to life, and I know for a fact that there is slim biographical work available on the amazing Eleanor.