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Linda K. Rettstatt
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Claire gazed into the well. She could see blue sky dotted with clouds, reflecting in the dark water below. Then, the sensation of falling. She found herself near the bottom of the well, clinging to a slimy rope, hanging just inches above the dank, black water.
Claire gazed into the well. As her eyes adjusted, she could see blue sky, dotted with billowy clouds, reflecting in the dark water below. The outline of her shadow partially blocked the light. She stretched out her hand to make a wish. Then, as always, it happened, the sensation of falling as fast as the coin she’d just tossed. She found herself near the bottom of the well, sitting in a bucket and clinging to a slimy rope, hanging just inches above the dank, black water. The blue sky was now but a narrow point of light in the distance.
Passersby stopped and peered into the well, blocking the light, unable to see her. One figure particularly troubled her. The face was not clear, but the shape appeared to be that of a woman with long, flowing hair bent over the well for only a brief moment, then gone. Claire heard a distant sound she could not identify, like the sound of a car backfiring. She called out, but her cries were unheard. She tried to reach up, but lost her grip on the rope, fumbling wildly to regain her hold.
Bathed in sweat, panting for air, arms flailing against the sensation of falling, Claire awakened. The voice calling out for help was her own. Her heart pounded in her chest as she struggled to free herself from the damp sheets tangled around her trembling body. It took her several hours to recover and she didn’t sleep again until daylight began to break.
The nightmare had been recurring for the past year. She’d tried everything--limiting caffeine and sugar consumption, not getting overly tired, psychotherapy, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills, even journaling about the nightmare. The journaling yielded three identical accounts, with no pattern to its occurrence. It would sneak up on her randomly, disrupt her sleep and leave her shaken for the better part of the next day.
Last week she’d made an appointment with yet another therapist, after spending a night of terror and getting only two hours’ sleep after daybreak.
This was her sixth therapist in a year. One therapist directed her to sit and breathe while he said reassuring things to her inner child and hugged her from behind. It left her wanting to take a long, hot shower. Another therapist theorized about repressed anger and made her beat the crap out of a stuffed trash bag with an inflated rubber bat. She had to admit that was fun, but didn’t see the relevance.
The therapist who told her she was everyone in her dream irritated her with the interpretation, and she never returned for follow-up. Why the hell would I ignore my own cries for help and leave myself dangling on the end of a rope at the bottom of a well?
The other two were probably good therapists, but not for her. One of these had suggested a psychiatric evaluation, but Claire refused, insisting she wasn’t crazy. She didn’t do odd things or have suicidal or homicidal thoughts, though she wanted to cheerfully strangle the therapist at that moment. She wasn’t sad or depressed, angry or grieving. She just had this recurring nightmare.
This latest therapist had been recommended by her physician. Maybe this time, Claire thought. Maybe this one will actually have an answer. They can’t all be idiots!
Stepping into the elevator, Claire decided that if the therapist suggested meditation, psychodrama or any kind of creepy body contact, she was leaving and she damned well wasn’t paying for the session. She didn’t even care anymore if the therapist could explain the nightmare. She just wanted someone to make it stop.
Linda Rettstatt grew up in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. She has worked as a social worker and therapist for twenty-five years and is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Pennsylvania. A nature photographer and musician, Linda has worked in community theatre and once wrote play reviews for the newspaper in her hometown of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Her writing has garnered recognition from Writer’s Digest and Pennwriters, Inc. Linda’s first novel, And The Truth Will Set You Free, finaled in the 2008 EPPIE Awards. She currently resides in Memphis, TN. The Year I Lost My Mind is her third novel.
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt creates a fast-paced mystery as Claire works to find the truth about her past. The hero is both strong and gentle, the kind of man you want in your life even if you are afraid to draw him into your nightmare. Rarely does a mystery have this depth of feeling. Pieces is an invitation to compassion and understanding. This book will enrich you as well as entertain you. Pieces by Linda Rettstatt found its way to my keeper shelf. This book rates a five on the lipstick scale --A. Dee Carey, The Fox Lady, www.foxladycarey.com
Pieces: Have you ever wondered, ‘Who am I… really?’ Claire Hutchings asks herself this question when a recurring nightmare gives her the feeling she must have been adopted. The more she tries to explain the dream, the more she discovers the puzzle pieces don’t add up. Something is missing. This is a real page turner. The suspense is so grippng, I promise you, you’ll not be able to set this book down. This superbly complex suspense will keep you turning pages as Claire puts the pieces of the puzzle together to discover her true identity. -- JoEllen Conger
Pieces by Linda Rettstatt is absolutely riveting--a real page turner. I was hooked from page one, and couldn’t put it down. The book begins with Claire Hutchings awakening from a recurring nightmare, and the race is on to get to the bottom of what it means. She connects with a wonderful, insightful counselor, Genevieve Headlee, who becomes her guide and mentor. In Pieces, the reader joins Claire as she travels along a journey of self discovery that spans from South Africa to Pennsylvania. You will laugh with Claire, cry with her, and be deeply moved by this beautiful story. You will also meet a cast of characters who will warm your heart as you cheer Claire on to find out the truth. Her shocking discovery which uncovers years of lies, the pain it causes and its resolution will have you reaching for the Kleenex box. Linda Rettstatt is a master at creating a beautiful, warm inspirational story filled with rich well-developed characters, intricate, exciting plot lines, and romance that will leave you sighing with happiness, along with a dash of humor that will have you laughing out loud. Don’t miss out on reading this book--your heart will never be the same. -- Suzanne M. Hurley, www.suzannemhurley.com
Pieces: When Claire Vanderfelt's sleep is disrupted by repeated nightmares, she seeks help from therapist, Genevieve Headlee. As Claire probes her past, the nightmare becomes a reality. Nothing is as it seems. Slowly, but surely, the missing pieces are put together. As the story unfolds, the reader is taken on a remarkable journey which explores the psychological affect of trauma and misplaced love. The characters are well-drawn. This intriguing story will hold interest right to the end. Pieces is a very readable novel which I am sure will keep readers awake till late into the night. --Olivia Winter, http://www.geocities.com/olivia_winter
Pieces: Linda Rettstatt’s heroines personify strength, love, humor, and hope. In her novel, Pieces, Claire Vanderfelt displays each of these traits as she searches for the pieces to the puzzle that has shaped her life. Because of this author’s skillfully crafted story, the reader will experience Claire’s heartache and longing, her joy and her triumph. -- Carol McPhee, http://www.geocities.com/carolmcphee2003
Pieces: Ms. Rettstatt has crafted a wonderful, poignant tale in Pieces. I felt Claire’s emotions as she delved into the past. Each chapter is filled with suspense and well-kept secrets as Claire uncovers bits of the mystery of who she is, both literally and figuratively. Pieces engages the reader with suspenseful narration and graphic storytelling. This is an amazing, beautifully written novel. Don’t miss it. -- Mallary Mitchell, www.mallarymitchell.us
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 198
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6
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