A deeply moving story, Prabhleen Notra
June 29, 2021
“Protection can become a prison, Keahi.”
Fire’s Caress by Lani Wendt Young is a riveting story told from the perspective of a woman named Teuila who is garnering attention in the art world with her works that seem to each tell their own story.
Marc Gold is a man who arrives to the island after vanishing inexplicably for a few days. The billionaire is seemingly enthralled by Teuila and her art, wanting her to work for him. But beneath his generous exterior is a vicious beast waiting to erupt.
Then there is Keahi, a remnant of her past that appears after years of no communication as a well-known movie star making a huge name for himself. We follow Teuila through her journey as she tries to overcome her past and the experiences haunting her, opening up to Keahi and unfurling the mystery that is Marc Gold. Marc, spurred on by the spirit within him, commits heinous acts while continuing to put on a show for the rest of the world.
Teuila struggles to come to terms with the return of her one-time friend and hangs on to old memories in an attempt to protect herself. But as she continues to interact with him, she becomes more and more confused, the encouragement from her friend not helping.
“‘It only takes a spark! It’s only a matter of time before it all ignites.’”
In order to turn her attention elsewhere, she runs straight to Marc, ignoring the warnings of everyone around her, and not wanting to believe the sinister aura that cloaks him. Keahi, aware of the danger, reverts to old habits to try and protect her.
“As a child of an abusive mother and then a broken foster system, he’d become a teenager who resorted easily to his fists when threatened.”
Overall, I’d say this book surprised me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. The beginning had me confused and unsure of how I would enjoy the story, but I can say that I was certainly pleased after I managed to grasp what was going on. As someone who doesn’t read blurbs, the switch between two characters in different settings had me perplexed, but it didn’t take long to understand.
Teuila is the main character with a resolve that doesn’t waver easily: a refreshing trait I think. She’s feisty and strong, built with muscle and the ability to wipe out any opponent. Personally, I think she has very admirable qualities, especially in the sense that she doesn’t make rash decisions based on impulse. Teuila is able to push away desire for a healthier way of life, even if every part of her disagrees. She will do what is best for her. Her character is compellingly well-written.
Keahi seems to be easy-going and charming on the outside, but he too is broken. His character is written in a way that made me feel for him, but also agree with the choices Teuila made in terms of their standing together.
The part I liked most about Fire’s Caress is the way it deals with issues that are sometimes glamourised in other books to seem like a safe thing. It deals with problems that people may face internally and externally in a way that makes me have respect for the author. I really appreciated the first quote I mentioned when I read it. That particular quote stood out to me immensely.
All in all, Fire’s Caress is a deeply moving story that I really enjoyed and recommend for others to read. I’m bad at pinpointing age categories, but I’d say to anyone over the age of 13 or 14. The book had me hooked and I am definitely looking forward to reading more by the author, if the opportunity presents itself.
- Prabhleen is 14 years old and lives in Hamilton.