Graywolf Press, $15.00, 224 pages
In Caddis Wood by Mary F. Rockcastle combines a strong sense of place with family drama. Told in alternating points of view, husband and wife Carl and Hallie combat Carl’s debilitating illness until Carl discovers letters written to Hallie by another man. This shakes his faith in their relationship and Hallie’s devotion. Memories abound in this lyrical novel that explores the inner workings of marriage and the bond between two people over time that tightens and expands as they grow and change together and within their family. It’s this family that offers the couple a chance to forgive and heal one another.
Rockcastle presents a deep love of the environment and a realistic view of both environmental degradation and the degradation of a marriage in her novel. While her characters have their flaws, hope lies in their chance for redemption, if willing to get dirty, take close note of changes in the environment around them, whether in the natural world or the romantic one, and are ready to embrace the challenges and rewards of a long-term bond. Rockcastle works with a delicate brush and paints a picture of a marriage and the fortitude these characters have to endure and flourish.