The Holding by Lynda Faye Schmidt is the prequel to The Healing and it takes readers on an emotional ride back to the beginnings of Cate Henderson's life. Born prematurely in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada, Cate instantly captures the attention of everyone in her family, although tiny and frail. As she grows up, she will experience childhood abuse and bullying, rape, and teenage pregnancy. Beset with challenges, Cate relies on an unbreakable bond forged between her and her father, and can this bond support her through the vicissitudes of life?
Based on true events, this tale articulates resilience, hope, creative imagination, and the light of humanity while exploring an unusual bond between daughter and father. The place of a father in a daughter's life is presented in this novel as irreplaceable and reading about Cate and William is utterly inspiring, a relationship that grows even stronger beyond the tomb. I was gripped from the opening pages and immersed as the author creates a stunning image of Donna in labor, with William fretting and ready to smash the window because of his anxiety. The scenes are intelligently crafted with lively dialogues to enrich and build the drama. Lynda Faye Schmidt writes about strong themes with an uncanny ability to make them less disturbing while highlighting key messages and emotions, discussing experiences of rape and abuse without allowing the beauty of expression to be tainted by sheer vulgarism. This character-driven, emotionally rich narrative is infused with realism and humanity; the characters are fully-drawn and unforgettable, and readers will find themselves thinking about their own relationships with their fathers as they follow Cate's journey. The Holding is a gorgeously written story about resilience, exploring the seasons of the soul of a solidly written protagonist and the relationship with her father that inspires her in the most challenging moments. It is stunningly accomplished.