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Into This Mind by Lisa Nevin
Cover Artist: Diann Izzie
Review by Mel Jacob
Unlimited Publishing  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781588321855
Date: 08 August 2007

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

When Jena discovers a deserted ballroom in a decrepit building, she risks her sanity and her life to uncover the truth about the Lanlore siblings. Allegedly August Lanlore set fire to house and killed his wife Marlene, sister April, and his daughter Hannah, but did he?

In Lisa Nevin's debut novel Into This Mind, Jena slips by accident into the memories of May Dellner who lived thirty years earlier. When Jena's best friend Katri Evers learns of Jena's experience she encourages her to return to the ballroom. Aware Katri knows more than she reveals, Jena finds May's memories fascinating, but they lure her into danger.

The puzzle of who killed the Lanlores and why drives Jena and Katri to pursue answers despite the risks. Jena must also uncover Katri's motives and what she knows but won't reveal. The answers surprise Jena, but astute readers may catch hints earlier.

On one visit to the ballroom, Jena suffers an identity crisis and a stranger, friends, husband, and her cat Sweetie Pie help her recover. The shattering experience makes her hesitate to return to May's memories. Katri uses Jena's love of chocolate to bribe her into one last foray.

Nevin contrasts the opposite physical and mental natures of the two friends—Jena the imaginative and adventurous one and Katri organized and serious. Both enjoy inline skating and kick-boxing. Their motives to learn the truth about Lanlores differ. Curiosity and empathy drives Jena while Katri's profession and family history fuel hers.

The novel offers interesting concepts and an explanation for the ability of some people to sense the memories of others and their need to right an old wrong. Nevin uses Katri, a doctor, to explain the phenomena and how some patients end in asylums.

Nevin's use of present tense and stiff dialogue make for initial heavy going, but readers who preserve will find an interesting mystery that demonstrates recorded history may not reflect actual events. With Women's Lib rampant at the time May lived (the late seventies), she appears passive in the extreme. Nevin supplies little in the setting related to the period except a DJ and the "Cotton-Eyed Joe." The overall flavor feels like a much earlier time such as pre-1960.

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