A Woman's Voice


Book Reviews ~ The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Mark Sasse

The Reach of the Banyan Tree by Author Mark W. Sasse

I am fast becoming a huge fan of talented Author Mark W. Sasse. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” is the third fictional novel that I’ve read by him and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three. I can certainly see his love and fascination for Vietnam because as in Beauty Rising the setting for this novel takes place there as well. As usual the description of the landscape and surroundings are phenomenal and easy to picture in one’s own mind.

The protagonist is Charles Regal Carson III, better known as Chip to his friends. His father is the owner of the Carson Oil Company in Texas which Chip wants no part of, therefore, he decides to work in Thai Nguyen, northern Vietnam for a more noble cause. While there, he meets the love of his life, Thuy. After two years of getting to know each other and eventually falling in love, Chip asks Thuy to marry him. She is more than willing but not without the approval/consent of her father whom she knows will not look favorably upon this union. He fought against the Americans during the Vietnam War and feels this marriage would bring nothing but grief to his little family. Thuy is very loyal to her family with only one younger brother by the name of Quat who is very taken with Chip. He sees him as his big American brother and has every desire to be just like him. His love and admiration for Chip is returned by Chip as he takes Quat under his wing and treats him much the same. After a celebration for Thuy’s twenty second birthday when much revelry and rice wine are enjoyed, most of the celebrants jump on their motorcycles and head home regardless of their drunken state. Although he has some misgivings in doing so, Chip is one of them. Then, the unthinkable occurs and the storyline unfolds in a mesmerizing way…

This well-written and captivating romantic novel with a large dose of history thrown in is both captivating and unpredictable. Once I got started I could hardly put it down. The wide cast of characters masterfully added to the story line by Author Mark W. Sasse only serves to prove what a great writer he is. If this makes sense, I had the mixed feelings of wanting to get to the end of this novel and also not wanting it to end. It would be most enjoyable if there was a sequel to this novel as this one adeptly demonstrates the combination of both heart-wrenching and heart-warming events at the same time. “The Reach of the Banyan Tree” certainly left me wanting more!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte
http://www.amazon.com/Reach-Banyan-Tree-Mark-Sasse-ebook/dp/B00LE5MNP0/ref=cm_rdp_product

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Book Reviews ~ The Recluse Storyteller

Mark SasseThis talented author has done it again. In my opinion, Author Mark Sasse has penned another thought-provoking fictional novel which is sure to grab the attention and stimulate the imagination of many discerning readers with the desire to get to the bottom of complex and oftentimes, perplexing situations.

Margaret Pritcher is the reclusive raconteur. She is obviously very intelligent as she writes programs for company manuals and manages to support herself in the simple life she is accustomed to. She lives by herself in an apartment and talks to absolutely no one….with the exception of Aunt Janice and twin girls, Pam and Sam, who live down the hall…and at times, out loud to herself. She slips out very late, at the same time every Tuesday night, to buy groceries for the week. She does so to ensure that she will not run into anyone she might know at the local grocery store which is open 24 hours a day. Margaret has an extremely over active imagination and since the death of her mother five years earlier…she is pretty well a total recluse.

However, Margaret has either a vivid imagination…or a sick mind…as she slips in and out of the stories in her mind. These are detailed activities and reports about the people who live in the other apartments on her floor…such as Cheevers with the Red Hat or Mrs. Johnson the mother of the twins, or other people such as Reverend Davies that she has been exposed to over the years. These are the tales that the reclusive storyteller is sharing as she explains and vividly describes their lives…using different names that are somehow inexplicitly connected to them and to her. In her mind, they are real…Margaret feels an indescribable presence which surrounds her and then she loses herself into a trance like state. The stories then take on a new life form within the recesses of her mind. It is one of these stories that she openly relates to Pam and Sam as they sit mesmerized before her eating their ice cream. These two young girls are her only genuinely captive audience until…each one of her tales touches a nerve with the people she knows.

No pen…no paper….no computer record the stories of this reclusive raconteur. Yet…each thought appears to be a story that is so realistic that it could actually occur in life to any number of people. The characters are real…at least to Margaret. The scenes leave off from one experience or series of events to another. Each time she returns to this ongoing saga in her mind…she knows exactly where she left off right up to the last minute detail. She never forgets an imagined event or the emotion these characters feel. She is totally captivated by each of them as she systematically and expertly tells their stories.

Who is Margaret…and why does she live this way? Has she been blessed or cursed with her uncanny knack for storytelling? You be the judge. It is well worth reading this fictional novel to find out. The reader gets expertly drawn into the presence she senses…her gift of retelling the imagined events of her dreamed up cast of characters…or better yet, ask yourself how Margaret knows what has gone on in these people’s lives that so evoke these incredible stories and forces them to face their past fears?

I have a feeling the gift of “The Recluse Storyteller” by talented Author Mark Sasse will be as mesmerizing to its reading audience as Margaret’s gift of storytelling is to Pam and Sam.

http://www.amazon.com/Recluse-Storyteller-Mark-W-Sasse-ebook/dp/B00FOBQ464/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-2&qid=1402574681


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