Evening In Atlantis: Tales of Romance by Rod Barkley is a collection of nine short stories that take place in Provence. Each story deals with different aspects of love and its impact on the characters. The author draws the reader closely into these tales and skillfully provides an in depth look into the lives of his characters. The stories are carefully layered with hope, magic, secrets and insight which results in a great reading experience.
In the title story we meet the poorest family of an old village. The Briands are a sad family of three. The sadness is created by Anna who is the tyrannical mother of twenty year old Sophie. Sophie’s ailing father, Gustav, loves his daughter but seems powerless to reign in the misery Anna brings into their lives. They were once a family of four. Another daughter, Simone, had died years before and Anna lets Sophie believe that she was somehow responsible. When Sophie isn’t toiling at the family shop she writes in a journal that she hides from her mother. Her writing is what allows her to escape her dismal home life. On the surface there is little to indicate that Sophie’s life will change for the better. An unexpected visitor to the village suddenly changes everything . Secrets are revealed, justice is imposed and what once seemed impossible becomes realty. To Islands Far Away is a fascinating story that has richly developed characters and unlikely friendships. Victor, a mechanic living in Marseille, dreams of relocating to an island in the South Pacific. He sends letters to potential employers but does not receive job offers. One fateful night Victor finds himself under attack by thugs and out of the darkness comes unexpected help from a young boy who is known as Max. The child is an orphan. The two form a bond and Max moves in with Victor. A job offer finally does come and Victor tries to adopt Max so that the pair can leave the country together. But, rules are rules, and they quickly learn that Victor needs a wife in order to adopt Max. Resourceful Max comes up with the idea of advertising for a wife and Victor reluctantly agrees. The applicants are an interesting group of women-none suitable. Both Victor and Max’s lives change when Nora responds to the ad. She presents a list of conditions and changes for Victor and Max to agree to and once she sees that they are serious about adhering to them she will marry Victor and then they can adopt Max. The author guides the reader through the journey of their relationship and carefully reveals the truth about Nora.
Without exception, each story is a pleasure to read. Mr. Barkley has created a unique group of characters and through them we get a glimpse into lives other than our own. The author has created memorable stories.
I received this book free of charge from Review The Book and I give this review of my own free will.