Peeler N., Tracking the Tempest, Orbit, 2010
I enjoyed reading Nicole Peeler‘s second book of the Jane True stories called Tracking the Tempestalbeit after a hesitant start. Hesitant? The style of the book made me uneasy. Coming as it did after reading Kate Forsyth‘s fairy tale, The Puzzle Ring, the abrupt change from the (f)airiness of Forsyth’s tale to the (gl)amorous preoccupations of Jane True was probably the cause. All the same, I reread the beginning of Peeler’s book in an attempt to understand if more was at stake. Please excuse the unintended vampire pun. The first chapter is almost devoid of any description of the place where the action is happening. As a result, there is a tenuousness that is not so much otherworldly as disconnected or possibly even claustrophobic which could be quite appropriate given the story. This insubstantiality is accentuated by the first person narrative in which much is given over to Jane’s preoccupations and the (a)musings of her inner voices.
As I made my way through the book I was more and more caught up in the story and less disturbed by stylistic questions. I found Jane became increasingly likeable. Of course, it’s always good to discover that the heroine has much more to offer than she imagined, but the real clincher for me came when I felt Jane had rediscovered her humanness that went hand in hand with vulnerability but also self-assertion.