I’ve just finished reading Margay Justice’s novel, Nora’s Soul. The front page says “Watch for future volumes by Margay Leah Justice from Beckoning Books,” and I will certainly be watching.
Nora’s Soul is a fascinating, genre-bending novel. Maybe it’s a romance, or is it paranormal, spiritual, mysterious? Or maybe it’s just one of those stories where the whole is rather more than the sum of its parts.
Nora’s heart is either broken or missing at the start of the novel. She’s almost engaged, but things go radically wrong, and what might have been was never meant to be. But she has a past, as does her best friend’s brother. And she has a soul.
The various pasts place barriers between Nora and her new employer, keeping their hearts at odds even as Nora grows more attached to his children. And the souls, Nora’s and perhaps her employer’s too, hang in the balance with the hearts.
It’s never clear whether angels also have souls, but they certainly seem to have wills and a heart for good or ill. But good and evil aren’t just lists of “thou shalt”s and “thou shalt not”s. And the soul isn’t some separate icon but an integral part of the body (and heart and history) and its choices.
Halfway through the book I knew what the ending should be, but I couldn’t see the path. The author had me willingly following a trail through past and present problems to a happy resolution. So yes, Nora’s Soul is a romance. But it’s fascinatingly different and surprisingly thought-provoking, and it’s got a brilliant cover and first line—“Angels don’t exist.” Or perhaps they do.