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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scare The Light Away

Delany, Vicki.  Scare The Light Away.

When her mother dies, Rebecca McKenzie returns to the small town Canadian town where she grew up and must confront the demons of her past after a thirty year absence.  She and her mother have remained close, with her mother visiting Rebecca and her husband occasionally, but there has been little or no contact with her family during this time.  She has not been back since she left for college, thirty years previously.

Recently widowed and grieving the loss of both her beloved husband and mother, Rebecca must face her alienation from her family and her roots, particularly the influence of her brutal grandfather who, although dead, has left a legacy of family dysfunction. 

While home, Rebecca's father gives her the diaries kept by Rebecca's mother from the time she was seventeen until her death.  Rebecca follows the diaries as her mother describes meeting and falling in love with Rebecca's father, becoming a war bride, her eventual emigration to Canada, and having to face the fact of her husband's father's destructive influence.

One storyline deals with the continuing consequences of the vicious grandfather's disturbing influences through the next two generations; another deals with Rebecca's coming to terms with her alienation from her two older siblings and their families; and a third deals with the mysterious disappearance of a young girl from the town, whose body is eventually discovered with clues that lead to Rebecca's brother.

 An interesting psychological novel that examines family and small town life.  Her mother's diaries help Rebecca gain perspective on events past and present as she attempts to help the brother for whom she has previously felt only contempt.

The book jacket blurb compares Delaney with Jacqueline Winspear, but I feel the comparison to be inaccurate and see more similarity with Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

Fiction.  Psychological/Mystery.  2005.  337 pages.


  1. Jenclair, you wrote a nice review of this Vicki Delany stand-alone. She is also the author of a mystery series set in British Columbia, which you may know. I finished the latest of that series recently. I read this one and another of her earlier books called Burden of Memory back in 2007 I think. I liked the storyline that went back and forth between the present and the past. I guess that is really one of my favorite devices.

  2. Kay - I had jotted down Delaney's name because I'd read a review, but couldn't remember where! It must have been yours, and I'll look for Delaney's other series now!

  3. Thank you for this great review, Jenclair. I haven't read anything by Vicki Delany, but this does sound good. It sounds like it has several interesting threads running through it.

  4. This books sounds interesting. I am adding it to my tbr list

  5. LF - Kay also mentions the mystery series, and I do want to try that, too!

    Violette - Hope you enjoy it!