Hopewell Ontario is a place where magic exist.
It’s a place where one person can see ghosts, where the town knows what direction you really need to go in to find your hearts desire or where you’ll find what you’ve been searching for all along. In three interconnected novellas, we’re shown that magic can happen in many ways, all you have to do is let it happen, whether you like it or not.
When three different cars get stuck in Hopewell, we’re introduced to three different men who are about to find what happens when magic gives things a helping push to help them along the right path.
In Roadside Assistance by Jeffrey Ricker, we’re introduced to Ed. He’s travelling with his friends Siobhan and Curtis, and they are heading to Toronto so that they can attend SciCon when their car breaks down in Hopewell. Ed isn’t hopeful, but even less so when they meet the town mechanic, Lyn. Sparks fly, but not the good kind, not right away. Sometimes attraction takes time. It complicates things a little when Ed realizes that Lyn can see ghosts, or one ghost, really. Whose ghost is it and what does it want from him?
In The Scavenger Hunt by J. Marshall Freeman, we’re given Rome’s story. He’s focused on working on the scavenger hunt for SciCon and he won’t let a little thing like a fallen tree in the road blocking the road to the convention stop him either. It’s not like he doesn’t have a lot on his mind. His grandmother is recovering after having a stroke. To take his mind off of that and the tree, he begins to look for a prize for his SciCon scavenger hunt. He is searching for the perfect prize when he sees meets Darcy, an artist who appears to be just as lost in the world as Rome feels. The two men come together and find a little of what was missing in each other.
In Hope Echoes, we meet Fielding. He is on his way to SciCon and he is also stopped by the tree in the path of the road. With nothing left to do, he decides to wander the town of Hopewell. He leaves the echo of his cousin in the car. He’s always seen ghosts, or echoes, but Hopewell seems to be full of them. In the local antique store, he sees an echo of a woman leave a note inside a book and disappear. He pulls the book off the shelf and finds it’s a copy of Sense and Sensibility. Inside the book, he finds the note still inside but it’s not one he can read. It’s written in some kind of code or cypher. This will lead Fielding on a hunt of his own and help him find a piece of himself he didn’t know he was missing.
I have to admit that I got Three Left Turns to Nowhere because I love the work by one of the authors. I heart anything written by ‘Nathan Burgoine so I knew that I had to get this book, simply so that I could read his novella. I’ve never read anything by Jeffrey Ricker or J. Marshall Freeman.
Sometimes, a collection of novella’s set in the same place can be disastrous. When I read one, I usually only pick it up for that one author. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book up, but I was hoping for a little bit of magic. I wasn’t expecting to be completely enchanted.
Each story stands on its own but has secondary characters or elements that tie all three novellas together. Hopewell feels less like a set piece and more like an actual town that I found myself wishing I could to there to experience my own bit of magic.
I loved how each of the three stories wasn’t about lust. More than that, they focused on the possibilities of love or romance and though each story does have a solid ending, I’m left wondering if the characters are still in Hopewell, celebrating their magic in some way. The characters were all written so well and the emotions that filled each of the stories was real and true.
You never know what you’re going to get in a book of novellas, but each of the stories contained in Three Left Turns to Nowhere do away with LGBTQIA+ stereotypes. Instead, I felt like I was reading real stories, with the occasional bit of magic thrown in; but no one can convince me that magic isn’t real, especially after reading this book.