Sedona by Kerry Fryar Freeman – Book Review

Sedona by Kerry Fryar Freeman – Book Review

Sedona by Kerry Fryar Freeman


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Sedona, AZ is a tourist town that lures people from around the world who believe there is more beyond the veil of reality. They come for the whispering pines, Hopi legends, vortices, magic crystals, and healing springs. Enter Cal Novak, a spunky editor from Atlanta, Georgia, who gives up the city life because she is searching for more: more time, more adventure, more meaning.

The magic of her new hometown does not disappoint. Behind the curtain of every window there are secrets waiting to be uncovered. For those searching for more, there’s no place like Sedona.

Having spent a considerable amount of time in Sedona while living in Williams, AZ, I was drawn to this book’s title and delightful cover. It brought back memories of the majestic beauty and mysticism of this extraordinary setting that indeed whispers secrets to those willing to listen with their hearts.

Cal, the main character of this novel, a young girl in her early twenties, moves to Sedona with her grandmother who is sick with cancer. Her grandmother tunes into these voices right away and begins to heal from her illness, while Cal is more skeptical and has to negotiate between the healing properties of Sedona and the tourist industry that borders on kitsch and is fraught with deception. Along the way, she solves a mystery that threatens to destroy the town with the help of a friend who becomes a love interest—but this budding romance is more of a side story.

At the heart of this novel is the preservation of place and legacy and the interplay between locals and tourists. In the beginning, Cal is neither local or tourist. As Tommy puts it, a local who owns Whispering Pines, a tourist spot that claims the trees can speak, “I feel bad for you, Cal, tumble weeding along. You’re just dry roots, rot, dust in the wind.” In the end, though, Cal has been tested, her loyalties questioned, and she comes out firmly rooted in the red dirt and buttes and canyons of Sedona.

I found this novel intriguing and suspenseful. Cal is feisty, fearless and smart, and I found myself routing for her as she trades her editor’s cap for one of investigative reporter. Her desire to fit in and find her place amongst the quirky and well-drawn locals in Sedona is palpable, And though the ending may have wrapped up a bit too quickly, it is satisfying and believable. Kudos to Freeman for her vivid portrait of a fascinating place with all its lore and idiosyncrasies.

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Kerry Fryar Freeman

Kerry Fryar Freeman

Kerry Fryar Freeman crafts fiction as if it were a new puzzle. The settings are real and well-researched, the details are rich and layered, and the stories absorb and propel readers one piece at a time. Kerry’s debut novel, SEDONA: A NOVEL, was long-listed for the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award. Kerry also writes a blog called “Books and Bevies” where she features an array of authors from New York Times and Amazon bestsellers to debut Indie gems.

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Meet Guest Reviewer Lisa Lynn Biggar

Lisa Lynn Biggar

Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review, Litro Magazine, Superstition Review and Pithead Chapel.

She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and two hard working cats. Her novella-in-flash, Unpasteurized, was published by Alien Buddha Press in June of 2023.

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