Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Celeste De Blasis’ THE TIGER’S WOMAN – Compelling Love Story from the Pacific Northwest – a Classic and a Keeper!

One of my blog followers recommended this book and I thank her for it. It’s now on my keeper shelf. It’s the kind of story that grabs you and won’t let go. I highly recommend it.

De Blasis brings us the intriguing story of a well-educated young woman, raised to be a lady, who because of a tortured past gives herself to a man nearly twice her age who she knows harbors a love for his dead wife. But the Tiger is a man who can protect her from the one who hunts her.

Set in San Francisco, Seattle and the San Juan Islands, the story begins in 1869. The widow “Mary Smith” (an assumed name) is on the run from killing a man, or thinking she might have. Then a man who she encountered ten years ago (when she was only 8), Jason Drake, sees her dancing in a saloon and decides he wants her. She flees to Seattle, never knowing that Seattle is his home, where he is known as “the Tiger,” a man of power and wealth who has his own island.

When she discovers that the Tiger is feared and respected, Mary decides to become his mistress in a bargain that will secure her his protection from the evil that stalks her. Neither thinks the relationship will be anything but transitory, each meeting the other’s needs. But they are both in for a surprise when they fall in love and Mary’s past slams into her present.

De Blasis brings to life the world of logging and the lumber business (“the loggers had a kingdom, a language and a code of chivalry all their own…”) and creates a wonderful world that includes an island in the San Juan Islands where the misfits Jason has collected thrive. De Blasis has obviously done considerable research for this story, even down to the ship scenes, the vegetation, the Indians who show up one day and so much more. It is all very well done.

It’s a poignant story of two people whose pasts tear them apart but whose love will draw them together again, a love strong enough to overcome fear. It’s a story of self-forgiveness, of letting go of the past and embracing the future. The telling of it is a masterpiece and the characters absolutely priceless, including Jason’s young son, Jamie. You will be glad De Blasis took 651 pages to bring this story to the page. If you are like me, you will not want it to end.

There are many quotable passages along the way, but I quite liked this one, a remembered saying of Jason’s dead wife: “My fierce man, tears and rain are the same thing, they’re meant to wash you clean and make you grow. If you don’t let them out, you’ll drown inside.”

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