Lucky Turtle

Algonquin. Apr. 2022. 416p. ISBN 9781643750972. $27.95. F
Unfolding over decades, this tale of love and intolerance from Kirkus Prize finalist Roorbach (The Remedy for Love) is narrated by Cindra Zoeller, who grows up in a wealthy family near Boston but loves the great outdoors. Little does she know that her association with a Cuban boyfriend and his gang would send her into the wilderness at age 16 for her involvement in a violent crime. Now she’s serving three years in a rural Montana reform camp for girls, while her less-privileged boyfriend does 20 years’ hard time. It isn’t long before Cindra lands in harsh solitary for telling the truth about the lascivious camp doctor. Her rescuer is her lover Lucky Turtle, an enigmatic loner who drives the camp’s van; his knowledge of Crow wisdom and traditions keeps them alive when they flee the camp and go deeper into the wilderness to elude an exhaustive manhunt. Cindra relates their plight from the viewpoint of her current life in Boston, where she’s living her former camp therapist, Walter, who controls her every move and blames her for her own troubles. Her one hope is her brilliant son Ricky, who helps Cindra devise a plan to reconnect with Lucky.
VERDICT Just how Roorbach dovetails Cindra’s two disparate lives gives her story intensity and shows the power of love from many sources. An engrossing novel with standout characters.
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