Disappearing in Plain Sight by Francis L. Guenette (see Author Wednesday interview with Ms. Guenette) is a beautifully executed novel about wounded souls attempting to heal and find their path in a life that hasn’t been kind—so far. The wounded bodies and minds converge in one lovely and isolated spot on Crater Lake on Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. It’s the ideal spot to disappear in plain sight.
The title reminds me of times in my own life when I felt as if I was melting into the corner as life went on around me. It’s not a pleasant state unless done by choice.
One line in the novel resonated with me, “When people talked and gathered he simply disappeared.”
The main characters inhabiting the less social side of Crater Lake disappear in plain sight, and no one even notices.
No one notices, that is, until they all come together in plain sight of one another, and there in the safe cocoon of Crater Lake, they are all finally able to offer their pain, sympathy, and kindness to one another.
Ms. Guenette meticulously describes the scenery, particularly the home and gardens of Caleb and Izzy, where a door always stands open. I saw myself in that setting, entertaining in the gardens, holding book club discussions in the living area, and drinking wine in front of the small fireplace set on one of the decks overlooking the lake.
The point of view shifts from each of the main characters allowing the reader a full view of all the perceptions, misconceptions, and relativity of opinions based on the hurts and secrets of lifetimes touched by far too much sadness.
However, in learning about the characters, I became lost in their stories and rooted for all of them, most of whom are underdogs. Even the seemingly perfect Izzy garnered my sympathy for her life of unspoken desires and motivations.
The tension builds as love triangles and quadruples entanglements intensify. Unrequited love explodes as the layers of love peel away.
Life continues beating its heart even though we might disappear in plain sight at times. However, the tree that falls in the forest really does make a noise, and in the right place in time, others come running to help as happens in this novel. One of the characters says, “We don’t give up on each other anymore. . .” and that is the ultimate lesson of this novel.
Disappearing in Plain Sight reminds me that it’s never too late to start over and things in the short term that seem utterly hopeless turn to gems in the long run if only we see it through those times when it simply seems we’ve disappeared.
I recommend this novel that delves deeply into the human psyche and soul to give hope to all who only have to turn the page to become immersed in life at Crater Lake.