By: Brit Lunden
Publication Date: March 2019
Reviewed By: Holly Connors
Author Brit Lunden starts out her new "Bulwark Anthology" series in the same way she started (with her initial offering, Bulwark), with a fast-paced, satisfying story that will have readers glued to the pages, trying to figure out what is going to happen next.
In The Knowing, the first book in the "Bulwark Anthology," the reader is re-introduced to JB Stratton, an elderly man who we first met in Bulwark. JB played a small role in that story, briefly taking care of an out-of-town couple hurt in a car accident. When the injured woman saw a picture of JB's late, beloved wife and made a nasty accusation, JB didn't take it lightly. After all, his late wife Ellie was, and would always be, his soul mate. If you didn't read Bulwark, it's not necessary to read it before reading this novella, but I'd recommend it as it's a great read. But for those without a copy of that first book, fear not, as the author covers those events in the first chapter of The Knowing.
Once the refresher chapter is complete, it's on to the new story. The reader is transported back 52 years, to a slower time in Bulwark, GA, where JB is a high school student, a star football player, and dirt poor. Between working on his parents' farm, school work, and football practice, the young man has no time for anything else. That is until Ellie Bronson, a blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful young woman, one year younger than JB, arrives from Connecticut. JB is smitten, but he's also shy and too ill-at-ease to ask Ellie for a date.
Soon, JB could think of nothing but Ellie. It was as if he knew her, but that was impossible because she'd just moved to Georgia. Something out of his past perhaps? Still, he couldn't stop thinking of her, nor could he shake the feeling of knowing her from...where? And then he started dreaming about Ellie. But the dreams...they were unusual and left him uneasy which was particularly odd because he couldn't remember what they were about.
At last, JB and Ellie connect and their romance begins. Things are going great until Ellie's brother finds out about the couple and decides to put an end to JB's desires. JB gets knocked out and that's when things get really odd, or fantastic, depending on your point of view. JB is transported to a Civil War battlefield, or is it just a dream? Readers will be pulled into the story to find out, and eager to learn how Ellie fits into the story.
The Knowing, a novella of just 80 pages is a quick read, made all the quicker because you won't want to stop reading until the very end. I was eager to dive into this story because Bulwark, the short story that started this series, was such an enjoyable read. I wanted to re-visit the town of Bulwark, GA and learn what other oddities were awaiting the reader. I was initially surprised to learn that this story didn't revolve around Sheriff Clay Finnes, the main character in Bulwark, but instead a minor player from that book. While I look forward to meeting Clay in another story in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed learning JB and Ellie's backstory. There's just enough supernatural "something" going on to keep the reader wondering, as well as asking themselves, "do I have a soul mate?" Here's hoping that there will be a lot more books in this anthology series!
Quill says: A very satisfying start to the "Bulwark Anthology" series. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!