Some of Diana Lindstrom’s fondest memories involve childhood experiments conducted under the watchful supervision of her Great-Aunt Nora, a celebrated physicist long ago shunned by the family for mysterious reasons.
Now in her adult years and a sought-after scientist herself, Diana learns that Nora is dying. She hires private-duty nurse Brooke Sheldon to care for Nora. Over the days and weeks spent in Nora’s company, Diana and Brooke are privy to Nora’s long-held secrets, along with her deep-seated regrets.
Trapped in a failing body, but with a keen mind, Nora Lindstrom watches as the spark of attraction between her great-niece and her caregiver grows into a flame. Determined to help the two younger women find the kind of deep love they so richly deserve, Nora makes a fateful decision that brings the past and the present directly onto a collision course. After all this time, it’s still about chain reactions.
THE LESBIAN REVIEW
“Lynn Ames has a habit of creating outstanding novels that leave me speechless whenever I read her flawless and heartfelt writing. I felt as though I got to have my cake and eat it too because this author gave me unforgettable characters, entertaining dialogue and beautiful descriptions of the Massachusetts landscape.”
“This novel is so much more than a delightful romance between two wonderful women; it is a story of love, loss and important life lessons.“
Read the rest of the review here:
THE LESBIAN READING ROOM
Chain Reactions finds elderly scientist Nora Lindstrom forced, in the face her own mortality, into contacting her long-estranged family. Her great-niece, Diana, convinced her aunt has been dead for twenty years, nevertheless responds to the plea from Nora’s lawyer and visits her beloved aunt, Diana’s inspiration for becoming a scientist and so much more. Shocked into the reality that her parents have lied to her for 35 years, Diana must quickly adapt to both the reappearance and frailty of her aunt as they begin to explore their new relationship.
The 100-year-old Nora needs live-in care Diana can’t provide but her scheming doctor introduces them to Brooke, a burnt-out paediatric nurse who has taken refuge nearby to heal her pain from losing too many cancer patients. Between them, Brooke and Diana care for the wilful old lady, supporting her fading strength and indomitable spirit, and in so doing both become fascinated by the history Nora has been part of, and the unspoken sacrifice of an inspirational woman.
Lynn Ames’ multi-layered romance presents us with a modern-day pathos, an ancient mystery, a slice of untaught history, and a poignant parallel between the generations. Nora is a classic representation of her era; stoic, realist and patriot, who stepped up when called by her country, proud to have served her part, yet plagued by the responsibility for her actions and ultimately sacrificing her own personal happiness as a consequence. Modern-day Diana has taken a similar route, putting medical research above a private life, and Brooke, the more empathic of the three, has made a comparable sacrifice, giving her energy to the care of others.
As the two younger women discover Nora’s personality and uncover her history, they inevitably form a bond, and despite the strain of the situation, lay the foundation for a tense friendship. As the strain of Nora’s final days grows, Diana and Brooke are drawn together, and Nora’s final wishes will push them both into a new reality.
These are three powerful women, exquisitely drawn, each with strength and sadness, each having chosen a path that has put their career first at the cost of personal happiness. Ames cleverly reveals them through the medium of their interaction and their exploration of each other, showing us their hidden pain as they are laid bare on the page. Nora, atoning for her self-imposed guilt, a huge figure in the fight against leukaemia, Diana, battling to find a cure for epilepsy and Brooke, caring for frequently terminal leukaemia patients, each has given their individual strength to the battle they have chosen.
Love suffuses the pages of this romance, love for family however distant, love that hasn’t faded despite the years, and love that grows even through the tension of caring for a dying relative. Nora’s love of her great-niece is a powerful force that neither Diana nor Brooke can ultimately withstand.
Emotional, poignant and touching, Chain Reactions will pull your heart strings every which way, leaving you bereft by Nora’s loss, awed by her history, yet buoyed by the overwhelming sense of hope that Diana and Brooke might not repeat her mistakes. Lynn Ames has the ability to pull a historical thread and bring it alive through her characters, women we cannot help but fall in love with. I guarantee you won’t put it down, and I cannot wait for the prequel.