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A Ring of Endless Light, Madeleine L’Engle

2010/04/02

Madeleine L’Engle is most well known for her Time Trilogy, which includes “A Wrinkle in Time,” but she has written a wide range of novels for adults and children, as well as non-fiction on spirituality, creativity, and religion. “A Ring of Endless Light” is my personal favourite.

This is the third of her works about the Austin family and focusing on fifteen-year-old Vickie Austin. She and her family are visiting her grandfather on Seven Bay Island this summer because he is dying of leukemia. The summer begins with the death of one of their friends — a coast guard captain whose family they have come to know and love during their many summers on the Island. Vickie’s older brother John is working at a science station on the Island, and it is through one of his acquaintances, Adam, that Vickie comes to know the dolphins. At the same time that Vickie is struggling with her own grief, there are two other young men in her life — Leo, the son of the coast guard captain, and Zachary, a moody but fragile loner — who also are mourning losses of their own.

Though this book is a little dated, it has held up better than some others of the same time period. The pace is a bit slow, and the romance is subtle rather than blatant, which may deter some readers. However, the sweetness of the story remains true, and the lead characters’ struggle with understanding death and mourning will still resonate with readers.

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