Publication Date: December 1, 2013
Who would you be if you could be anyone? In Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole, Meredith needs a change after the breakup of her marriage and moves from Florida to Alaska. A strange accident leaves her presumed dead and with a new identity. Starting over seems a dream come true but someone who will stop at nothing is still looking for her. Can Meredith find the peace she’s looking for?
I received a copy of this novel from Barclay Publicity in exchange for participating in this blog tour.
Compass North is a beautifully crafted novel. Cole gives the reader a complete experience. We can see the beauty of Alaska. We meet the quirky characters that inhabit the town. We’re immersed in the adventure of life with Meredith as she reinvents herself. The town of Homer, Alaska feels idyllic on the page. Postcard perfect but nothing is ever perfect. Readers are lost in a quiet beauty that can’t help but make the inhabitants appear a bit insane by contrast. There’s a lot of space for everyone and the things they might be judged for in Chicago help them fit into Homer, Alaska.
While Compass North is listed as a mystery/thriller on Amazon, I believe the novel is miscategorized. There is a bit of a thriller element at the end that isn’t so much mystery but the overall genre feels more coming-of-age. Calling it “coming-of-age” might be an odd determination considering that the novel is about a grown woman running from her bad marriage, butCompass North certainly sends the message of Meredith finding herself. Any transformative story of this theme includes a lot of navel gazing and Meredith is no exception. We, as readers, get to know her really well and she has some faults that will grate on the reader when delved in too deeply. One can expect her to be somewhat unsure given her situation but the amount of hand-wringing and changing direction within the character is somewhat annoying. Looking deeper, it simply fits with the narrative. I think if she’d be more confident and sure of her next move, I’d be calling that unrealistic.
Cole’s true talent is in construction and every element is a puzzle piece that fits. The great disappointment in the lives of most people is unmet expectations. We think things should be this way but they’re not so there’s not something terribly wrong with the situation but terribly wrong within us. Given the rare chance to start over, Meredith finds a new relationship and builds expectations that she might find manageable. The flow of the story is flawless and if there were any technical errors, I didn’t spot them.
What Cole gives the reader is a place to jump off into looking at who we are. What would you do in Meredith’s shoes? What would you do if it fell apart? Will Cole continue the story to show us Meredith’s next steps? Meredith is someone with whom we bond as readers and won’t like to let go.
If you like stories about adversity and human reactions to bad situations, read an excerpt and buy Compass North by Stephanie Joyce Cole on