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Review: ‘Through the Door’ by Jodi McIsaac

July 16, 2013

Through the Door coverSummary: Cedar McLeod believes she lives an ordinary and uneventful life.  She works hard to balance her family and work life and meet the demands of her job while raising her six-year-old daughter, Eden.  As a single mother, Cedar struggles more than she would like to, and relies on her mother, Maeve, for help.  Eden’s father, Finn, disappeared from her life before Eden was born and cedar has been unable to find him ever since.

But Cedar’s uneventful world is about to be turned on its ear.  One day, Eden suddenly opens the door to her bedroom only to find her bedroom is now a desert–she opened her door to another place entirely.  Eden wants to walk through the doors and find out where else she can go.  Afraid and confused, Cedar forbids Eden to open any doors without her present.

Except Eden disappears a few days later.  Knowing what Eden can do with the doors, Cedar realizes that her daughter could be anywhere in the world.  Even more scared and beginning to panic when Eden doesn’t come home, Cedar begins a journey to track down Finn and get some answers.  On the hunt for Eden, Cedar discovers far more than she could ever have imagined, and plunges herself into more danger than she might be able to survive.

My Thoughts: What a fantastic read!  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book when I first picked it up, but I ended up being really enthralled by it.  The characters are well-rounded and their growth is steady through the novel.  The plot is interesting and engrossing.  The pacing is excellent, I never felt bored or like I wanted to stop reading.

Cedar McLeod is the main character and the mother of Eden, a very special young girl.  Eden’s father left suddenly one day and Cedar has been unable to find him or move on since then.  Cedar does her best to work and support herself and Eden as a graphic designer, with some babysitting help from her mother, Maeve.  Cedar is a strong character who is probably best defined as a fierce mother.  She would do anything for Eden, and fights to protect her from harm.  However, that very quality is also her greatest flaw, as her desire to protect and save Eden ends up causing some havoc and unfortunate incidents in the long run.  She can end up being stubborn and pig-headed when it comes to protecting Eden, to the point of not listening to anyone else.  This is something she attempts to overcome throughout the book, but she struggles with her desire to protect Eden at all costs.

There are a number of characters who really pull those sympathetic heart-strings later on, most notably Finn and Maeve.  Maeve has a mysterious past and backstory that isn’t fully appreciated until the end.  Finn’s secret is huge, and sadly I can’t say too much about it or him here without giving something away.  At first, Finn doesn’t seem like a very likeable character, but he becomes more interesting later on.  Maeve is the one I feel the most sorry for in all the machinations of the families.  She had so much happen to her, and lost so much, but she chose to (largely) rise above it and turn her situation into a positive rather than a negative.  But when I found out her true background, I was flabbergasted.  I didn’t guess that that’s what happened to her, and it worked so well for the characters and the plot.

There are three rather huge twists in the plot, with the biggest one coming at the end.  The end was extremely satisfying and even though it left me feeling as if the book had reached a valid and satisfying end, I still wanted more to follow.  So I was relieved to find that there is a second book planned for release this year!  The twist at the end was not one I had guessed at or even saw coming, so as twists go, it was brilliant.

Other characters include Finn’s family and Cedar’s best friend, Jane.  Jane was funny and provided a bit of comic relief at points, though mostly in the beginning.  Finn’s family is a large and diverse cast of characters.  I don’t want to say too much about them as I have to avoid mentioned their origins in order to avoid any spoilers.  I will say that they are unusual.  And their weirdness explains Eden’s sudden and initially inexplicable ability to create doors that can open to other places.  They do behave very poorly toward Cedar for a long time, and this makes them very unlikable.  They claim to have reasons for their mistreatment of Cedar and for withholding information from her, but these reasons don’t become clear until much later–which makes the family, and even Cedar’s mother (who knows more than she says), come off as jerks.  While this makes them unlikable to begin with, the reasons later on make sense and, while it may not have been the wisest or the best decision to keep Cedar in the dark for so long, their reasons had logic behind them.

All in all, I have nothing negative to say about this book.  OK, one or two typos, but even good books can have a few typos here and there.  I have nothing negative to say about the plot, the characters, the pacing, or the ideas.  It’s well written and contains maybe two typos in the entire thing and nothing else wrong in the typo/grammar department.  This book takes Celtic lore and brings a freshness to it that is invigorating.  I will definitely read this book again and I will absolutely be checking out the sequel.

5 stars

Buy on Amazon * Author Website * Goodreads* Shelfari
Book info: published 2013, 294 pages, ISBN 978-1612183077
Copy is a free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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