* * *
While training for a mountain bike race, high-school senior Mark Lewis spots a mysterious girl dressed in odd clothing, standing behind a waterfall in the woods near his North Carolina home. When she comments on the strange machine that he rides, he suspects something isn’t right. When Susanna claims to be an indentured servant from 1796, he wonders if she's crazy. Yet he feels compelled to find out more.
Mark enters a ‘long-distance’ relationship with Susanna through the shimmering--and temperamental--barrier of Whisper Falls. Curious about her world, Mark combs through history to learn about the brutal life she's trapped in. But knowledge can be dangerous. Soon he must choose between the risk of changing history or dooming the girl he can't stop thinking about to a lifetime of misery.
As far as love stories go, this is quite unusual but Langston pulls it off. Whisper Falls serves up a plenty for history fans and also some suspense that will keep you glued to the pages.
When Mark encounters the unusual and out of place young lady on one of his rides, he’s mystified and intrigued. Susanna feels the same. What makes their developing relationship believable is that they’re somehow able to be free with each other despite their vast differences in both time and culture. The glimpses into Susanna’s life at the time are a grim reminder of that period and the fate that many young girls suffered then. It’s all the minute details based on much research that draw stark images in mind that make the story come alive. If anything all these images should have us girls very grateful for what we have now.
And then there’s that tricky thing about messing with history. Their friendship could cause ripple effects in the historical timeline but it’s hard for Mark to walk away when he knows Susanna needs help. Even I was torn as to what they should both do.
Whisper Falls is a smart story featuring two characters who despite extremely different circumstances are equals. Susanna’s steely resilience and Mark’s stubborn determination make them perfect partners. And I’m looking forward to seeing how they cope with the ramifications of their actions in the follow up A Whisper In Time.