Flaherty's Crossingby Kaylin Mcfarren
Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession of his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the
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Successful yet emotionally stifled artist Kate Flaherty stands at the deathbed of her estranged father, conflicted by his morphine-induced confession of his part in her mother's death. While racing home, Kate's car mishap leads her to a soul-searching discussion with a lone diner employee, prompting Kate to confront the true reasons her marriage hangs in the balance. When her night takes an expected turn, however, she flees for her life, a life desperate for faith that can only be found through her ability to forgive.
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The tires on her car squealed, their traction briefly slipping around the sharp corner. Kate tapped the brakes. The vanilla-scented pine tree freshener swung like a frantic pendulum from the rearview mirror. She glanced at the speedometer and realized her angst had weighted her foot on the gas pedal. Her heart pounded as her eyes averted from the edge of the winding road where a guardrail was needed but lacking.
On a dark Sunday night, with only an occasional car zooming by in the opposite direction, how long would it take for someone to discover she'd plunged down the side of the mountain? How long before Drew would even notice she was missing?
Drew...shoot. She'd meant to leave him a note, but Doris's call had sent her mind whirling. Glimpsing her watch, she realized how late it was.
She fumbled through her purse with her free hand. Her sudden desire to keep her eyes glued to the road hindered her ability to find her cell phone amidst the wadded receipts and other clutter of her life. For a moment, she imagined living without sight, attempting to search for an object using only the sense of touch. The thought was horrendous: an existence without vision? Without art? To never study the beautiful chaos of Jackson Pollock's drip paintings, or the vibrancy of Rauschenberg's masterpieces? It was unthinkable.
For so many years she'd dreamt of the day she would take Drew to see those ingenious works of art in person. Not in a local museum, but somewhere more magical, like Europe, where art and life were one. Together she and Drew would nibble on crepes, tour the Parisian halls of the Musée Picasso, dance in the Latin Quarter; they'd conquer the spiraling steps of the Duomo, inhaling romance from the Tuscan air like a steaming cappuccino. They'd ride the train to Amsterdam, home of the Van Gogh Museum, and giggle like children at the "colorful" world of the Red Light District.
Now, of course, Kate knew better. It was an imaginary trip she'd grown to accept would never happen. Instead, she'd found a way to live out her dreams on a fresh canvas with its endless possibilities. No words were necessary to express a feeling when a stroke of paint could say it all. And alone in her studio, like the wardrobe entrance to Narnia, she could lose herself in a world where plane tickets weren't needed for passage.
Just as the road straightened, her fingers found the phone at the bottom of her purse. She pulled it out and pressed 2 on the keypad to speed dial the house.
Ringing, ringing. Drew's voice on the answering machine: "Hi, you've reached the home of Drew Coleman and Kate Flaherty..."
Kate had appreciated her husband's understanding when she wanted to keep her maiden name due to her blossoming career. Tonight though, something about hearing him state their names separately only underscored the fact they'd become little more than roommates. Her spirit sank a notch.
"Sorry you missed us," he continued. "Please leave a message, or you can connect to our cell phones by pressing one for Drew or two for Kate. Thanks."
A long silence. Then a beep.
"Hi, it's me," she said. "I got a call today about my father. His health...he isn't doing well." How was she going to explain this? She'd never told Drew her father's "cured" status hadn't lasted, hoped somehow she'd never have to. But after the message he'd left, she had no choice. "I thought you'd be home by now. Just...call me when you get this."
Where could he be? His flight should have landed hours ago.
Impatience increased her speed. She drove through the little town of Hoodsport so quickly that if she'd blinked, she would have missed it. For the next few miles, the scattered remains of Fourth of July stands and unkempt yards filled with rusted vehicles speckled both sides of the highway. On her left, the florescent sign of the Lucky Dog Casino promoted huge jackpot winnings, reminding her that for others happiness was a mere pull on a slot machine away.
When she came around the next bend, a bright orange sign jumped in front of her car.
She stomped on the brakes and veered off the main highway like a criminal in a high-speed police chase, barely missing a lineup of red flares and orange cones from a broken down semi. Her pulse raced as she straightened the wheel.
Where the heck was this taking her?
A small white highway sign answered in unsympathetic black letters - 106.
She huffed at the inconvenient route, one she hadn't taken in years. Cracking the window, she took a deep, sobering breath. In came the smell of damp fir from the trees stippling the sides of the remote road.
For twenty minutes, not one vehicle followed her or passed in the oncoming lane. Street lamps became rarer, each yellow light shining dimmer than the last. A drive never felt so long.
As her car jounced over the rough highway lining the Puget Sound, a layer of fog lifting from the dark waters swallowed the beams of her headlights. The ocean welcomed her back with its hazy abyss. The sounds of undulating static evidenced waves crashing on the shore. A crisp breeze brushed against her face, delivering a trace of salt to her tongue.
She tried to remember how many years it had been since she'd spent time near the sea. Crabbing, fishing, water skiing: all her happiest memories with her dad had taken place by the water. As well as the most terrifying day of her life.
Kate closed the window. She turned on the radio and flipped through the channels, all crackling between towers. A political debate. Advice for the lovelorn. The brain-itching chorus of "Gypsy Soul." She clicked it off.
Her wheels screeched as she flew around another curve and onto the connecting highway. She released her foot from the gas pedal but, resisting the instinct to use the brakes, she shoved her foot back down to accelerate. Perhaps her way of defying death, or a desperate search for control.
She lifted her phone and called home again, only to hear the same message on the machine.
Where was he?
Suddenly, Drew's words came back to her: "Maybe we need to take a break."
They'd had plenty of arguments in the past, but never before had he mentioned separating. What if he viewed her unexplained absence tonight as blatant apathy?
Apprehension raised her blood pressure, burned the tips of her ears.
She speed dialed Drew's lifeline: his cell phone. It went straight to voicemail: "You've reached Drew Coleman with Milton, Sidis, and Stricklen. I'll be out of town until Monday. If this is an urgent matter, you can reach my assistant at..."
As Kate anxiously waited for the beep, she noted darkness in Drew's voice, a seriousness that had replaced the fun-loving spirit she'd fallen in love with.
"Drew, I'm on my way home," she said. "I'm heading back from my father's. I'll explain when I see you. Anyway, there was a detour. I just took highway sixteen off one-o-six, so I shouldn't be more than forty minutes away..."
The glow of her headlights bounced off something ahead.
It was an animal. A deer. Standing sideways in her lane.
Kate dropped the phone. "No, no, no!" she yelled, jamming the brake pedal to the floor. She yanked back on the steering wheel as if pulling a B-52 out of a nosedive.
In exaggerated slow motion, the deer turned its head toward her. No fear in its eyes. No attempt to move. Either at peace with its fate or unwavering in its defiance.
The car's beams elongated the creature's shadow across the road, the distance between them vanishing. There wasn't time to stopthey were going to collide.
Kate screamed, swerving into the hole of blackness off the edge of the highway. Every muscle in her body clenched, preparing for impact.
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Meet the Author
Linda Yoshida, writing as Kaylin McFarren, minored in English in college and for the past twenty years has led PR/marketing efforts for several companies within her family's international conglomerate. She is a wife and mother of three, and resides in Oregon. In addition to serving on numerous foundations and boards, she actively works with multi-published critique partners and is a member of several writers' organizations, including Willamette Writers and Romance Writers of America. Although FLAHERTY'S CROSSING is Linda début novel, it has already garnered numerous awards and received recognition as a 2008 Golden Heart® Finalist.
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Kate goes to see her dad for the last time, as he lies dying of cancer. In the hours and days following, revelations will test her sanity and marriage. Will she come away stronger, or will it destroy her? It’s always hard to learn that things aren’t just black and white, that there’s usually a story behind it. I love the way Kate’s life makes full circle. I liked Kate but I have to say that the neighbor Wanda Finch was my favorite. This story brought out strong emotions in me, and had me crying by the end. I also liked the quote, “a photograph could capture the perfection of the model…but not the emotions the image evoked. These are very true words.
Flaherty's Crossing is a good book about love, family, marriage and dealing with the loss of loved ones no matter how estranged. Author Kaylin McFerrin is an excellent writer and storyteller with tremendous descriptive abilities. Kate and Drew are a married couple with successful careers who, not surprisingly, have drifted apart. Kate is an artist busy with painting and gallery exhibits. Drew is an up and coming attorney who is tempted to find comfort in the arms of another women if Kate doesn't comply with his ultimatum to start a family of their own. Her hesitancy towards parenthood lies in her own dysfunctional upbringing. Kate's mother was killed by a drunk driver after fleeing their family home because of an argument with Kate's father. Not only did Kate lose her mother, but her father became withdrawn and literally distant, preferring to spend his time on the road as a truck driver. Because of her father's chronic absence, Kate is raised by her Aunt Sophie who becomes Kate's closest family relation. The novel begins with a powerful shift in relationship as Kate is confronted with the reality of her father's imminent death. He is in the final stages of his losing battle with cancer after years of chemo therapy. Kate learns more about her father in death then she ever did while he was alive. Ironically, his hospice caregiver knows more about Kate's father than his own daughter. His nurse is kind and becomes instrumental in also easing Kate's pain to eventually enable her to discover the paper trail which enlightens her understanding of past familial events. Her new found awareness, although shocking, is exactly the information Kate needs to finally begin to resolve all lingering emotional conflicts with the father she barely knew. Flaherty's Crossing focuses on two primary relationships: Kate's strained relationship with her husband, Drew, and Kate's father’s relationship with her mother. In a word, this book is about marriage. The dynamic of each relationship parallels each other as many marital relationships often do. The title Flaherty's Crossing is apropos. As Kate's father reaches the final stages of his own passing, Kate is at a crossroads of her own, which is choosing the life or death of her own marriage. Once Kate receives word that her father is near the end, she drops everything to be by his side despite their mutual lack of warmth and closeness to one another. In her haste to go to her father, Kate leaves a rushed voice mail message which her husband fails to retrieve and listen to till much later. Drew assumes the worst about their own problematic relationship, but all of his reservations are quickly cast aside once he discovers his own wife is in need and rushes to find and rescue her physically and emotionally. Family-driven novels such as Flaherty's Crossing may not be the most original from of dramatic fiction, but the author manages to hit on all the important notes. Marriage and family dynamics are difficult under the best of circumstances, but unions such as these are the binds that connect us. The author does a nice job of depicting these complex relationships without falling into the trap of creating trite, conventional characters. McFerrin also manages to throw in a few twists for good measure, giving the story some compelling suspenseful moments. There is also a suggestion of a quasi-paranormal event which is left for the reader's mind and imagination to interpret as they like. We didn't find it necessary to add these other off-genre devices, as the story can stand on its own. Without these curve balls, which distracted a bit from the real importance of Flaherty's Crossing, it was a terrific story about marriage, family, unconditional love, forgiveness, healing, and resolution. This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.
Standing at the bedside of her dying father, Kate Flaherty is inundated in a sea of conflicting emotions - chief among them the resentment that she's felt toward him for so many years; after all, she blames him for her mother's death, which tragically came at the young age of thirty-six. At the same time that she struggles with her feelings toward her father, though, Kate also contends with the unresolved emotional issues surrounding her crumbling marriage - which appears to be destined for a similar fate; however, a near-fatal car accident suddenly forces Kate to see things in a different light, and - slowly but surely - she eventually learns to embrace the cathartic power of forgiveness. Flaherty's Crossing is a gripping read. In her powerful true-to-life tale, author Kaylin McFarren takes you on a vicarious journey through the hearts and minds of vivid, unique characters, all of whom find themselves in heartrending situations to which readers of all ages are sure to relate. As she's forced to confront the ever-evolving circumstances of her life, Kaylin learns a host of invaluable lessons, not the least of which is to show others just how much you love them before it's too late. In so doing, she's able to break the generational curse that threatens to rob her and her husband of the joy they so desperately crave - yet, for reasons even they don't fully understand, continually deny one another. As such, Flaherty's Crossing is a strikingly realistic reflection of the trials and tribulations we all experience over the course of our everyday lives. Highly recommended. Karynda Lewis Apex Reviews
Kate Flaherty is at a crossroads in her young life. Her father is on his deathbed and she has many unresolved issues related to the early death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance. When she has a car accident, it stimulates images that both disturb and threaten to stir up those same unresolved issues. Kate's marriage is, likewise, in a shambles but both she and her husband appear open to reconciliation. When Kate is injured, her husband becomes involved and available - just what Kate was needing in her own hours of soul-searching related to her father's death. Although the conflict resolutions are, at times, a bit predictable and simplistic, "Flaherty's Crossing" is an easy read that should appeal to many readers of suspense and romance. The main characters are well developed.
Reviewed by author Betty Ann Harris: It was apparent to me as I read Flaherty's Crossing by Kaylin McFarren, that she poured her heart and soul into this story of love, healing, and faith. Ms. McFarren evokes strong emotional responses from her readers, and I can truthfully admit that I cried at the end of the story. Not tears of sadness, but rather, tears of pure emotion and a feeling that the author truly connected with me. And that I felt the same emotions while reading the book as she felt and wanted to convey while writing it. And isn't that what writers truly want to achieve? Well, Ms. McFarren accomplished that with her wonderful book, Flaherty's Crossing. The main character, Kate, who grew up feeling unloved, almost loses everything because she is not able to forgive or trust those closest to her. It takes her father's death, a car accident, a good knock on the head, and her husband almost leaving her before she realizes what is most important in life. She learns to forgive and to trust her heart. And once she is able to do that, a whole new world awaits her. I truly loved this story and the way it was written, with such depth and emotion. I give this a well-deserved five stars. It was a fantastic book!
"Flaherty's Crossing" begins as Kate Flaherty is rushing to her estranged father's deathbed. She makes it there before he passes, but he appears to be incoherently drifting in and out of the past. Kate carries a tremendous amount of anger towards her father. After her mother tragically died at age thirty-six, she blamed him for her death. Holding a grudge against him and his inability to express his feelings towards her, Kate saw her father as an enigma. At the same time that Kate is losing her father, she is about to lose her husband. This loss would not be to death. Just as Kate's father withheld himself from her, Kate has been withholding herself from her husband, Drew. Their marriage is on the rocks and neither knows how to reach out to the other. A car accident changes everything. When Kate runs her car off a road to avoid hitting a deer, a strange encounter with a mysterious man in an old diner begins to wake her up from her apathetic state. Realizing that he could have lost her forever, also forces Drew to know that he does not want this to happen. Together they decide to try to salvage their marriage. They start looking at what is truly important to each other. Drew begins to see that being trapped in an unrewarding job so that he can afford their big expensive house and fancy BMW is not worth it. The couple also has other serious issues to contend with. As Kate deals with her father's passing, she begins to learn more about his life. She discovers that the family secrets ran very deep. Finding mementos that he had saved of her, shows her how much her father really loved her. She begins to see that she has been making the same mistakes in her marriage that her father did in his. She knows that she needs to make changes so that she does not end up like her parents did. "Flaherty's Crossing" by Kaylin McFarren is a beautiful story. The author does an incredible job of presenting the story in vivid detail. We are taken into the minds and hearts of the characters. As you read, you will feel the same anguish that they each felt in dealing with their own issues. In your heart, you will also feel their love and their hope for a better future. Even though it is a fictional story, it made me reflect on my own life, and how I shouldn't wait until it is too late to let people that I love know how I feel, or to apologize if I need to. This is a novel that is written with exceptional quality. Readers will truly enjoy this story.