Sixteen-year-old Amy, recovering from an abusive relationship at her Aunt Mae’s country home, finds a clearing on her Aunt’s property with a mysterious, seemingly endless mist hovering on the fringe. When curiosity brings Amy into the mist, she makes an amazing discovery—on the other side of the mist lives Henry, an eighteen-year-old boy stuck in the endless summer of 1944. Henry is well mannered and a true gentleman, everything Amy’s last boyfriend was not. She and Henry are drawn to each other and a new, sweet romance blossoms, but as the two times start to collide they realize they must face what is to come, even at the cost of losing each other.
Davis tells the story from alternating POVs and tenses. Amy is told in first person, while Henry’s is in third person. It was an interesting use of POVs. I always knew whose head I was in, and I didn’t find the altering POVs disruptive. I did relate more to Henry, probably because I am drawn to 1940s and 1950s “gentleman” type characters. Amy at times was a little weak and slightly selfish, but she was dealing with the aftermath of an abusive relationship, so her actions were believable.
I loved the contrast between Amy and Henry. Davis doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but shows us the differences in subtle ways through the actions of the two main characters. The 21st century has lost the innocence of the 40s and 50s. In today’s society, the 1940s gentleman is hard to find. Don’t get me wrong, the 1940s proper young lady is just as rare, and while I’m not advocating their return I do think society as a whole would benefit from the return of some of the values and way of life of the 1940s. And Davis managed to bring a little bit of that era back into this story.
I have to give Davis credit with how she handles the issues both Amy and Henry face. She isn’t preachy or radical, but portrays situations realistically. Another aspect I really like is the attention to detail that Davis includes in her descriptions; it really makes Henry’s world come alive. The story is well paced and the reader can relate to the characters. The Clearing is definitely worth the read.
And I’ll leave you with a quote from Aunt Mae, probably my favorite in the book:
“My dear, time is the one thing you should pay attention to. One day, you’ll find there’s never enough of it.” – pg 62.