To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis
Andra Watkins & Helen Rice
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Merry Lewis died of two gunshot wounds more than two centuries ago. Was it suicide? Or murder? Because no one knows for sure, he’s stuck in an in-between called Nowhere. When he completes a Nowhere assignment, his soul will finally rest. But he’s failed every assignment, and he’s running out of time.
Merry’s last hope for redemption is nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney. Her mother has despicable plans for her tenth birthday, plans that will ruin Em’s life. She longs to run away and be with her father, but how?
When Merry finds Em hiding in a New Orleans alley, he realizes she is his final mission. But his old arch enemy has another horrifying scheme for her. As Em and Merry flee along the Natchez Trace, can they vanquish their mutual foe and find Em’s father before it’s too late?
To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is the second book in the Nowhere Series, a speculative blend of riveting suspense, forgotten history, and a dash of paranormal fiction. If you like edge-of-your-seat action, compelling characters, and white-knuckle emotion, you’ll love the latest installment in Andra Watkins’ page-turning series.
Buy To Live Forever today and discover your next favorite read!
A Journey Forward and Back
To Live Forever is a journey into a little girls future that also explores the past of not only Meriwether Lewis, but also the Natchez Trace. You Emmaline must run away from a situation at home gone from bad to worse, and she picks up the help of the wandering spirit of Meriwether Lewis - of Lewis and Clarke fame. Along the way from New Orleans to Nashville the reader is taken on their own journey of exploration into some of the most interesting Characters in America’s past. Told from the few points of Lewis, Emmaline, and “the Judge”, the story unfolds and a quickening rate to an explosive climax. Nicely illustrated in the style of Lewis’s exploration journals, though not overdone, the book is a delight to the minds eye as well as the mind. Pick it up, come along for the ride, and enjoy the journey.
Genre-Busting American Tale
"To Life Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis" is a genre-busting novel encompassing Historical Adventure, Young Adult, Thriller, Fantasy, and Contemporary Fiction. This is a courageous endeavor from the get-go and Andra Watkins, somehow, pulls it off.
The story follows Emmaline, a precocious nine-year-old, as she escapes late-seventies New Orleans, running from her madam of a mother and the clutches of the judge who awarded sole-custody of Emmaline to her mother, forbidding any contact at all with her beloved musician of a daddy. Emmaline’s focus throughout the story is to somehow get to Nashville and reunite with her father. The judge has his own designs on the child for reasons that become darkly clear as the novel progresses.
We meet Meriwether Lewis in a bar in Nowhere, a place where restless spirits wait for chances to help the living navigate trouble. It is a bleak place not for the faint of heart. Watkins makes it seem real enough and opens questions about who we are and where we go when our time among the living is done.
The mystery of how and why Meriwether Lewis died in 1809 at the age of thirty-five on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee in is one of the lynchpins that holds the story together and propels it forward. In a wonderful leap of imagination, Andra Watkins pits two adversarial figures straight out of American history against each other for one last deadly confrontation, with the winner gaining redemption and the loser falling into the eternal abyss.
The character of Emmaline is the fulcrum upon which these two ancient enemies must gain their balance. She is carefully drawn and well crafted. Shirley Temple she’s not. She is delightfully human and it is a pleasure to watch her discover that there is much more to life than her own little world and her own notions of who people are. The repartee between Em and Lewis reads true. It both softens and hardens them as they realize a mutual dependence that each of them must trust in order to survive.
The action follows the Natchez Trace, which runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. It is an arduous road through both geography and history. Watkins depicts it as a Southern, and American, treasure, populated with men and women who could arise from any time during the last few hundred years.
"To Live Forever" is a compelling read. Pages turn of their own volition. The ending is satisfying and opens the door to speculation about how Emmaline’s life will change and grow after we catch our last glimpse of her. That is a foundational trait of excellent storytelling.
To Live Forever
This was an interesting and unusual story. Despite the title, I did not immediately understand that the story was about the afterlife journey of a real historical character who became obsessed with protecting and aiding a child in the search for her father from whom she had been separated by court order. I also had difficulty at times in identifying the narrator, as they were not identified by the author. I found the ending to be rather obtuse. Did the child's father live or die? I prefer books that are more definitive.