The Red Thread: A Novel in Three Incarnations

Written by Roderick Townley
Review by Janette King

In present day Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 16-year-old Dana Landgrave has such bad dreams that they’ve landed her in therapy. But dreams aren’t her only source of conflict. She’s at odds with the yearbook editor, who prefers mundane images to Dana’s vision of photographic expression. Her parents don’t understand her: the only ones who seem to have Dana’s best interests at heart are her disabled brother Ben, her friends Chase and Trish, and her shrink, Dr. Sprague.

It’s Sprague who suggests that Dana’s present difficulties might have their root in the past, but Sprague wants to take Dana past her birth to a previous life! Later, against the more suitable backdrop of London, England, Dana begins to discover real clues to her previous life in the 18th century… but has she gone back far enough? And will remembering really end her nightmare?

Dana’s adventure to solve the mystery of her past is a compelling journey that eventually leads her recollections to the 16th century. Author Roderick Townley has drawn an immensely likable heroine whose teenaged troubles seem to pit the whole world against her over several lifetimes. Townley reveals the relevant details adeptly, so Dana’s search for the origin of her distress feels completely believable. The Red Thread is a book I wish I could have read as a kid. Ages 12 and up.