Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.
In The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay, the main characters are few: forty-something-year-old book editor Nina Findlay who has recently experienced a slight emotional breakdown and is in Greece trying to find herself; next-door-neighbours-since-childhood Paulo and Luca Romano who are in a toxic relationship with Nina; Dr. Christos, the kind, compassionate, handsome, English-speaking Greek doctor with excellent listening skills; and Nurse Yannis.
The setting is historical and beautiful: a Greek island. The plot is simple: Nina grows up next door to Paulo and his younger brother Luca and a love triangle emerges. Luca marries Francesca. Nina marries Paulo. Twenty-five years later, the marriage sours, Nina's support system crumbles, she is estranged from Luca, and returns to the same Greek island where she and Paulo spent their honeymoon. On the brink of divorce from Paulo, his family and her former self, Nina wants to heal and start her life anew. But shortly after arrives, she is hit by a bus, taken to a hospital in a small hospital, and in a ‘flashback’ style of writing, the author begins to tell the story of Nina's life through Nina's words to her bored, underworked and lonely physician, Dr. Christos.
In a conversation with Dr. Christos, Nina says that "in the past and in the future, going from one to the other and back, I use the past to speculate forward. I'm barely in the present at all," thereby bringing attention to her self-analytical and self-absorbed-to-the-point-of-distraction self which brings about her own unhappiness, clearly illustrated by her admission that “there were other people I pushed away who stayed away, people who proved to be easily deterred. Close friends, people I'd always thought were close friends. I told myself I was happier not having to deal with people, but I wasn't happier."
Not surprisingly, the lengthy and daily conversations with Dr. Christos lead Nina to the fantasy of having an affair with him. She begins to envision her life continuing on the island with Dr. Christos - and then Paolo re-enters the scene. “The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay” is a story about choice, love, regret, relationship possibilities and new beginnings. It has its twists, surprises and an ending where Nurse Yannis plays an important and surprising role in Nina’s “enlightenment.”
Is the story plausible? Are the characters believable? Is the “flashback” style of writing effective? Readers will have to come to their own opinion. Spoiler alert: not for this reviewer.
Warmly recommended with caution.