Anna Waters, the youngest partner in a Boston law firm, feels her life spinning out of control after a tragic accident takes the life of her unborn child. She works endless hours, distancing herself from family, friends, and especially her husband. In quick succession, she finds herself divorced and jobless. Just when she thinks she has nothing left, a dream beckons her to take a life-changing journey. Completely alone, she leaves everything she knows and drives to the countryside of South Carolina. She first meets Clark, a common soul who knows all about grief. He helps her deepen her understanding of spirituality, which sets in motion a journey of self-discovery and hope. Along the way she befriends an adorable girl named Lucita who not only captures her heart, but also helps absolve the pain of never knowing a daughter. Her refuge isn’t without complications: love triangles, alcoholism, jealousy, and sickness find a way into all their lives. These difficulties force Anna to look deeper and deeper within her soul, facing the ultimate question . . . Once I learn to love myself, will it really be enough?
From the Marshfield Mariner
The Refuge Awards and Reviews
Finalist in 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards
4 out of 4 stars
Review by e-tasana-williams
Online Book Club
Official Review: The Refuge by Heidi Martin
Ambitious Anna is the youngest partner in her law firm. She and her husband Frederick both have lucrative careers, a beach house, and an enviable life--from the outside. What isn't enviable is the personal tragedy they are both crushed by daily. The Refuge by Heidi Martin describes how the tragedy touches every part of Anna and Frederick's life together, threatening to tear them apart. When Anna starts having strange dreams and longing to leave her native Boston, she wonders what it is all about. For so long, she has defined herself by her career success, and is not sure what will happen when she ventures outside the boundaries of her current life.
Heeding the tug she feels to leave the city, Anna is introduced to a life she never thought she would have. Against the advice of her well-intentioned sister Julia, Anna opens herself to a new way of living in South Carolina. Along the way she meets a lovely little girl and a generous neighbor. Anna's experiences bring up new questions for her. How long can she put her old life on hold? Can she find real healing from personal tragedy? Who is she really meant to be? Is her concept of love all wrong?
The Refuge is an intriguing book. It contains love stories but it is not strictly a romance novel. It highlights some aspects of Ms. Martin's personal life, but it is not an autobiography. It discusses spirituality, but it is not a religious work. My favorite part of the story is its deep character development. Anna is not portrayed as a damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued by being swept off her feet. She is a realistic, relatable heroine facing difficult human issues. While she desires romantic love in her life, she is not ruled by her desire. The unique relationships portrayed in the book, along with the relatable heroine make The Refuge a different kind of novel.
Readers looking for inspiration will enjoy The Refuge, as it chronicles one woman's journey to forgive herself and find self love. Through genuine relationships and well-rounded characters, Anna discovers the value of second chances, spirituality, and giving and receiving love. Readers who subscribe to one particular faith may not like the story, as it incorporates elements from many different religions and gives each one equal value.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The story flows at a natural pace, I found myself invested in the characters' outcome, and the work appears to be professionally edited with no errors of note.
"Highly recommend this book. I want to get more copies and then send them to all my hard working friends - and my family and friends that may need a gentle way of exploring spirituality and still honor their religious beliefs- a lot of who could be the characters in this book. Seriously, great read. Wish there was more- Thank you Heidi Martin!”
“In the Refuge, Anna endures a personal tragedy in her life and realizes that she must rediscover herself to survive. Life experiences change us forever, and this book shares the journey of Anna as she tries to heal and find happiness again in her life. The Refuge is beautifully written and takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and renewal. With the vivid descriptions and depth of character development, I felt like I was immersed in this story. I couldn't put it down!”
-Jodi Shamblott Jesser
Treasure hunt, treasure hunt, on our way …. And so the adventure begins in this playful story. Readers take off with a group of curious schoolchildren who have embarked on a field trip of exploration which takes them over the river, through the woods, and into a dark cave in search of an unexpected treasure. Children of all ages will delight in the lyrical text and vibrant illustrations as they follow along and discover just how much fun a treasure hunt can become!
Treasure Hunt Reviews
“This charming book full of rhythm and rhyme will have your kids asking for this book to be read to them time and time again. It’s a fun book with beautiful illustrations about a group of children who are on a field trip full of exploration and discovery. It just may encourage you and your children to take off on an adventure and a hunt together. This is definitely an author we hope to see more from in the future. Heidi’s book is recommended for children ages 4 – 8.”
-Angela Addington, Mom-Spot.com