Blurb: When first-year teacher Daniella Reyes starts teaching at a new school, she is frightened by the crows that follow her everywhere.
Being a woman with highly empathic abilities and a victim of child abuse, she is tuned to pick up the vibes from abused children in her classroom.
She’s desperate to help them while trying to cling onto a normal life with Luke.
As she slowly discovers the secrets of a powerful, ancient cult, she finds out that her life is anything but normal as the hidden world of New Mexico opens up to her.
She must make a life-altering sacrifice if she wants to save the children, her father’s soul and her own life.
Not since Practical Magic has a novel captured the essence of powerful magic and pure love where strong women in a family know no boundaries.
This supernatural thriller is book 1 of Women of the Willow Wood.
Extract: Chapter 6, pg. 46-47
Now I had a few minutes to find Mr. Garza. I walked out to his office, which was a small pre-fab shed in back of the 47 school. I swallowed and entered his office. He was sitting in an old swivel chair reading over a list. “Morning, Mr. Garza.”
He spun around. His dark brown eyes seemed to light up when he saw me.
“Good morning Miss Reyes. How can I help you?” He smoothed a few straggly gray hairs out of his eyes.
“It’s just that… well, have you ever noticed a large flock of crows here on the playground? And some to be aggressive?”
“Crows, ya say?” He turned to look out the window by his desk.
“Yes, I’ve seen them in the Cottonwood tree on the north end. One even dive-bombed a few of my students yesterday.”
“I’ve seen a few of them now and then, but never a large flock. Been years. It was long before principal Striker was here. Mr. Bender had been principal then. He had a heart attack. It was about three months later when I had noticed a large group as you say. I’ll take a look today and check out around the Cottonwood tree and the grounds if it makes you feel any better.” (End of Extract)
To begin, the cover artwork is attractive, with the young teacher in the foreground. The supernatural is clearly hinted at with the cross on the tomb in the background and the crows in the tree. Though it is a dark, spooky night, there is a light in the back, brightly lit, which suggests a fire.
Unable to see any people, it is to be infered that someone, or something, is responsible for the fire. Being unseen, this adds to the sense of evil that is emanating from the scene. So, here we have an image which is foreshadowing what we believe will be horrible events to come within the covers of this book.
Conversely, we feel a bit of cognitive dissonance between the dark, somber image, and the book’s title: The Good Teacher. There is a conflict here that needs to be resolved. If this is our “good teacher,” then what is she doing in a graveyard at midnight?
Our curiosity can only be satisfied by diving between the pages of this novel. Superbly done, creating curiosity about the story through the clever use of the visual elements.
Author Lorraine Carey has used the blurb to mention a similar book in her genre, Practical Magic, and compare the two books. She has drew me into wanting to turn the pages and find out what’s going on. But wait. Why should we even care to begin turning the pages of this novel? Because the stakes are high.
To save the children, she’s got to make a sacrifice. Sacrifice? What is she going to give up? Her life, maybe. (Take me, let them go free.)
Her father’s soul? So, we are dealing with some pretty serious stuff in this novel, because now we talking the Prince of Darkness.
Are we back to “take me, let him go free”?
Wait a minute. Daniella is also going to save herself too. So, it’s like she makes a deal. “Take me. Let Dad and the kids go free.”
The Prince goes for it. His evil intentions are clear, and he considers Daniella a good consolation prize.
So, Prince of Darkness is rubbing his hands. He got a good deal.
He lets Dad and the kids go free.
And then she says, “I fooled you!” and they all lived happily ever after.
This is what I imagine is going to happen in the book.
And of course, I got it all wrong.
For me, it proved to be,…
As the book ends, we read the following quote:
“One cannot live without seeking forgiveness, or at least, one cannot live at peace, especially in the family.” — Pope Francis
It is a powerful summary of the reading experience, that as you turn that last page, you will have been inpacted enough to understand that perfection is not a human quality.
Seek perfection, and your destiny is disappointment.
Forgiveness, redemption, atonement, a second chance…
Mercy and forgiveness provides humans with a way out. We can deal with the imperfect nature of the human condition. Above all, this book is about the human condition, and the limits which we are willing to go to for those whom we love.
Let me add here that I read this book in one sitting. It held me captivated, enchanted, at times full of suspense, holding my breath until I fearfully turned the next page to discover if my worst fears had been realized.
Lorraine Carrey kept one step ahead of me, kept me guessing, kept me turning the pages until the end. If this is your genre, then you will be completely satisfied with this book. I recommend it highly.
I give it 5 stars only because 6 stars are not an option! I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series.
Lorraine Carey is a veteran children’s reading specialist, teacher and an International Award-Winning Author. She has taught in many states in the US and currently is providing reading services for students at a private school on Grand Cayman, where she lives with her husband.
Five years ago she was a city gal, living in Orange County, California, where life was very different from the one she lives in now. Trading in her fashionable heels for flip-flops was quite a change, but led to a lifestyle that allowed for a writing career to begin.
Her love for paranormal stories and urban legends began at a young age, when staying up all night to watch spooky movies or reading a scary book started a lifelong passion.
Published novels include: Losing Ground, a short memoir, followed by Mysteries of the Red Coyote Inn, Out of the Ashes, Jonathan’s Locket and The Last Vestal Virgin. All of these novels are paranormal with a mix of historical fiction, woven with urban legends. Her most recent novel, Beloved Sacrifice, is a Supernatural Thriller for Young Adults to Adults.
Her latest novel, A Rock Star Reader by Kindergarten, is an educational guide for parents of young children to help their child achieve many of the pre-reading concepts necessary to be a successful reader by the time they reach kindergarten.
When not writing you can find Lorraine reading, beach- hopping, snorkeling, or boating around the island with her husband on their boat, the Angelica.