Landon, Shelly, U-no-le
A Diary’s House, Where True Love Endures is based in the late nineteenth century in North Carolina and tells the tale of Landon Hampshire, a young boy on the verge of manhood. Landon and his two friends; Jonathan and Thomas set out on an adventure to make them rich, famous and above all into men. Their idea to become these three things is to journey down the dangerous and infamous Randola River to Sebastian’s Island where it is rumoured a pirate’s treasure is hidden! But to get there they need help. The three friends travel to the house of a mysterious old man called Montague, who has travelled down the Randola and lived to tell the tale.
Old Man Montague agrees to help the boys and builds them a raft to float down the Randola. However Landon is suspicious of Montague, believing that there is something not right with him, but Jonathan and Thomas are too excited to start their journey down the Randola and tell him to 'stop fussing' over his suspicions. The day of the voyage arrives and Landon’s suspicion is proved right, Montague backs out of his agreement to journey down the Randola with the boys and vanishes into thin air! It turns out Montague was a spirit who was killed in the Randola and wanted to lead them to their deaths! This is not a good omen for the boy’s voyage.
Their voyage is dangerous but by following the advice Montague gave them (before he disappeared) the three companions make it to Sebastian’s Island. But what they find there is not what they were expecting! The island is protected by Kituhwa, (the soul of a Cherokee Indian Legend) a fierce warrior who attacks Landon and his companions! In their attempt to lose Kituhwa, the boys are spilt up on the island, for safety Landon ventures into a forest full of ancient trees. Whilst in hiding, Landon uncovers an old dairy written over fifty years before, which tells the tale of a young girl’s emergence into adulthood. Landon is reunited with his friends and escapes the island with his life. He realises that he will not uncover the Pirate’s treasure but he now has to uncover the mystery of the diary; whose is it?
The diary reveals the story of two star-crossed lovers. One is the daughter of a wealthy, white business man (whose diary it is) and the other is a young Cherokee boy named U-no-le. The diary tells of how they met and how they both fell in love with each other. But because of outside influences, their love is not allowed to be. Landon becomes engrossed with the diary’s story of a love that was challenged at every chance. Landon soon finds that this diary is more than just an old love story but something much closer to him and his family and which will have a vital role in his future!
For me, this was a book of two halves (a bit of a cliché I know!). The first half was Landon’s journey down the Randola River and the second half was the story and mystery behind the diary. To be totally honest, I really didn’t like the first half of this book. I thought that it was beautifully written, but I also thought that most of the text didn’t need to be there! What I mean by this is that you’d be reading sentence after sentence of beautifully written text but it would be describing something like Landon’s breathing or him climbing in and out of a window. I felt all this description really slowed down the book making it hard to really get into! I also found the story of Landon sailing down a river to find a Pirate’s treasure unappealing, especially when there were ghosts and talking trees thrown into the mix! When I was reading it, I always seemed to think of the movie ‘Stand by Me’ for some reason or ‘The Goonies’. I just thought it was going to be like one of those movies; 'three kids on an adventure to find themselves!'
However this changed with the introduction of the diary. I really like the story of the girl and U-no-le (I would have liked to have gone into it more detail above but I didn’t want to spoil the ending!). I found it truly sad as these two people who loved each other were not allowed to be together. Coincide this with the events in Landon’s love life makes this half of the book really tug at your heart strings (which I really liked). I also loved the relationship that emerged between Landon and his Grandmother in the book. Again, I don’t want to give too much away but it is really sad because Landon doesn’t at first see much of his Grandmother but you can tell that they are so much alike and that his Grandmother really loves him. And most importantly, I liked how Landon became a man, not by conquering a famous river or by finding lost treasure but by solving the mystery of the diary and bringing his family closer together.
All in all I enjoyed this book. I found it really slow at the beginning but when the mystery of the diary is introduced it picks up pace. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book you can get it in eBook from Smashwords.com.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to C. David Murphy and Marlene Diaz for getting in touch with me and introducing me to your work.
For author’s official website click here.