The Para-Portage of Emily by Muffy Wilson is a story layered in multiple mysteries. Emily, a young woman with a heart condition, is sent by her father to handle her recently deceased Uncle John’s estate. She works for her father’s law firm and her uncle was a partner. Her father feels the time away from home, in a quiet location, might do her delicate health good. So, she travels alone from Chicago to an island nestled between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, with her dog Barkley.
Soon as she arrives at the island estate, she is enthralled by the beautiful home and its link to local history, which includes a story about the previous owner. As it turns out, she knows little to nothing about her uncle and decides to dig up whatever personal and historical information she can. Eventually, due to strange dreams, her own imagination and paranormal influence, she kind of becomes obsessed, especially with the history surrounding the original owner: Colin Jorgenson, the man who bought the property somewhere between 1890 and 1900.
While she deals with the legalities of the estate, she meets a small cast of supporting characters, and quickly learns the island is far removed from the outside world. In a small community everyone knows everyone else’s business, and she’s no exception. As she begins to unravel her uncle’s life, she also discovers more about Colin. And she embarks on, what’s to become, the journey of her life.
This novel was eloquently written, a visual feast, with a titillating amount of eroticism; although it is difficult to tell in the beginning whether Emily’s sexual encounters are imagined or real. Of all the characters, I liked her the most. She’s a headstrong woman and nobody’s fool. But, having said that, I found the ending a little disappointing, even though I know it was inevitable. Without giving spoilers, I just feel that Emily, the intelligent and beautiful woman that she is, deserved significantly more than what she got. Aside from that, the story was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The sex was deliciously sensual. And both the mystery and paranormal aspects were a total draw along with Emily’s engaging outlook on her new world. 4.5 stars!