By: Catherine Aerie
Publication Date: September 2013
Reviewed by: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: January 7, 2014
In the midst of a brutal and devastating war, a small sliver of light emerges with the love of two strangers on opposite sides. The Dance of the Spirits by Catherine Aerie tells the story of two people caught in the middle of the Korean War and against all odds seem to keep finding each other.
Jasmine Young volunteers to go into the war as a doctor thinking that this will be a way to bring her family honor. After barely graduating from medical school she is thrust into the battle and quickly realizes that she will have many soldiers’ lives depending on her alone to survive. With unrelenting determination she gives each patient she sees her utmost attention and does everything she can with the limited resources that are available to her. As the war continues, she is transported from one place to another until she finds herself at the front lines trying to survive bombs and gunfire coming down around her. In an attempt to find cover she is knocked unconscious and is found by Wesley Palm, who takes her to a hospital not believing that he will ever see her again.
On the other side of the line Wesley is a Lieutenant in the American army who has a knack for staying alive and creating a strong connection with his men. During one trek across the snow covered battle field Wesley, along with his companion, stumble along a body that looks feminine, which is not seen often. Curiosity gets the best of Wesley and he discovers that this girl is also alive and in need of immediate medical attention. After grumbling a little about the time it will take to save her, he picks her up and gets her to a hospital where she makes a great recovery. Later in a twist of fate Jasmine and Wesley find themselves hiding out in a cave praying that they are not found by the Chinese army. Thankfully, they escape this predicament and are placed in the same camp where an attraction is felt by the both of them. However, the love is short-lived as they are only able to spend one night together before Jasmine is sent off to a prisoner of war camp. Both of their hearts are filled with defeat as they wonder if they will ever get to see each other again.
From the very first page I could feel that this would be an enduring love story and I was hoping that through the reading I would be able to find out more about each character. I was not disappointed in regards to Jasmine as the author went into great detail about her upbringing, her parents, siblings, and all the circumstances that brought her to volunteer in this war. Learning all of that was great and I hoped for something similar for Wesley, although I was a little disappointed as there was not too much background information about him. As I was reading I kept thinking that any minute I was going to go into a chapter that would tell about his upbringing, family, and what brought him to the war but it never came. On the other hand their love story was quite enduring and as soon as they met I could not stop reading and was intrigued with their devotion to one another. The fact that Jasmine and Wesley were technically on different sides did not matter because their love was a love no one could take from them and amongst all of the harshness of war they found something beautiful.
Quill says: This is a heart-wrenching, page-turning love story that shows even in the brutality of war something enlightening can be found.