Discover Redemption and Hope Among ‘The Crows of Beara’ [REVIEW]

Dunluce Castle

Get swept away to the verdant Irish coast in Julie Christine Johnson’s The Crows of Beara. (Photo by Ricardo Cabral, Flickr)

With a marriage on the rocks and a troubled past she’d like to forget, one woman leaves America behind and heads to the rocky Irish coast with hopes to salvage her career and build a new life in Julie Christine Johnson’s The Crows of Beara.

Julie Christine Johnson's THE CROWS OF BEARA

Ashland Creek Press

When Annie Crowe arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, she discovers that the new copper mine she’s come to promote is endangering the Redbilled Chough, a bird the surrounding community will do anything to protect.

Daniel Savage, a local artist, is determined to block Annie at every turn. Even so, they find themselves inexplicably drawn toward one another despite their differences. Soon, however, Annie comes to realize she has some tough choices to make. Will she be able to stop spreading the half-truths she’s been commissioned to tell the community and the lies she’s told herself? And will she find the courage to open her heart again and let Ireland and its people in?

 

I love Johnson’s beautiful descriptions of her two main characters. Annie is a recovering alcoholic who tries to make better decisions, while Daniel is an artist with a criminal past. They are each seriously flawed in their own way, yet they are both desperate to survive each day as it comes and forge new paths for themselves. It is a struggle so many of us can relate to. From the very first sentence, I could identify with these characters.

“Annie turned off the engine and rested her forehead on the steering wheel, gathering strength.”

Even nature seems to reflect her emotional state.

“The daffodils lining the sidewalk had bloomed with such eagerness just last week. Now they lay flattened against the cement, defeated by the day’s rain.”

Passages like this allow us to experience Annie’s despair and agony as she tries to continue in a situation that only leaves her feeling drained, defeated, and pushed beyond all human endurance.

On the other hand, I can also relate to Daniel who forgets everything but the art he’s creating as he spins copper into art, pouring his entire being into his work.

“He didn’t mean to be short… but when it was time to create, the world ceased to exist. Except the world of his copper canvas.”

I know just how true these words are for creative types. Jathan gets this way every time he starts to work on a new project. Johnson captures this enraptured state so deftly, it’s as if we can see Daniel’s idea form inside his head even before he transfers it into the canvas. This creative process is a beautiful sight to behold, and the author aptly conveys the importance of not interrupting it until the process is completely finished.

I have to admit, The Crows of Beara isn’t what I initially expected. Although it is a novel about love, compromise, and second chances, it is first and foremost a book about emotional awakenings and making the conscious decision to be happy.

Using fractured, flawed, and authentic characters and the beautiful shoreline of the Beara Peninsula, Johnson weaves a story of discovery, redemption, and hope. In The Crows of Beara, she writes with nuanced, lyrical grace and a voice that captivates to the very end. Don’t miss this gorgeous, haunting, multilayered novel. Julie Christine Johnson is an author to watch!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Christine Johnson

Julie Christine Johnson

Julie Christine Johnson’s short stories and essays have appeared in journals including Emerge Literary JournalMud Season ReviewCirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific RimCobalt; and River Poets Journal. Her work has also appeared in the print anthologies Stories for SendaiUp, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss. 

She holds undergraduate degrees in French and psychology and a master’s in international affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.

Named a “standout debut” by Library Journal, “very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review, and “delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life (Sourcebooks) went into a second printing three days after its February 2016 release. A hiker, yogi, and swimmer, Julie makes her home in northwest Washington state.

Find out more about Julie at her home on the Web at JulieChristineJohnson.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

THE CROWS OF BEARA
By Julie Christine Johnson
300 pgs. Ashland Creek Press. $18.95

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Crows of Beara at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Crows of Beara is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

The Crows of Beara Giveaway

Want to win a copy of The Crows of Beara for your personal library? Simply complete the form below and click submit to enter. Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. Contest ends November 1, 2017.

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About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

4 Responses to Discover Redemption and Hope Among ‘The Crows of Beara’ [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: Julie Christine Johnson, author of The Crows of Beara, on tour October 2017 | TLC Book Tours

  2. I’m utterly verklempt. Thank you for this beautiful review, Heather and Jathan.
    Warmest, Julie

  3. Reblogged this on CHALK the SUN and commented:
    “Using fractured, flawed, and authentic characters and the beautiful shoreline of the Beara Peninsula, Johnson weaves a story of discovery, redemption, and hope. In The Crows of Beara, she writes with nuanced, lyrical grace and a voice that captivates to the very end. Don’t miss this gorgeous, haunting, multilayered novel. Julie Christine Johnson is an author to watch!”

  4. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    Two strangers with very different agendas find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other on the verdant Irish coast in Julie Christine Johnson’s The Crows of Beara.

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