Monday, August 2, 2021

Lenore H. Gay's Shelter of Leaves - Review

The Dystopian genre for me has always been something like a zombie apocalypse, nuclear devastation, or a horrific future where teenagers must kill each other in an Olympics style competition. I never thought of the possibility of it happening due to strategic bombings across the country. Not saying this would be any less devastating. It just was something that never really entered my mind. 

Then, along comes Shelter of Leaves and this is the Dystopian world that begins with bombings occurring across the United States. Sabine is in her apartment in Washington D.C. when the bomb hits her apartment building. She escapes and begins a harrowing journey away from the city. 

I definitely got a Walking Dead vibe...without the zombies. What I mean by this is, Sabine ends up being welcomed into a small community at a farm house. The way this group lives and interacts gives off the vibe that is the best part of the Walking Dead series. Feelings of banding together to preserve humanity, order, camaraderie, love. 

The characters are all unique, but the two most interesting characters are Sharp and Sabine. Sabine has had some memory loss, from past trauma, or perhaps from the bombings. As she discovers more and more about her past, a story unfolds that is both heartbreaking and astounding. Sharp is an enigma which makes him very intriguing. His mysterious nature and (seemingly) masculine ways makes Sabine's interest in him very understandable.

We never really find out what or who was behind the bombings. I could say I have inside information on a sequel, but I won't... Here's hoping the story continues and we learn the truth behind it all. Until then, Shelter of Leaves is definitely a book I would recommend. 

About the book
On Memorial Day, a series of bomb explosions shuts down major cities across the US. Her apartment in ruins, Sabine flees Washington DC and begins a grueling journey on foot that brings her to West Virginia, where she finds safety at an abandoned farmhouse with other refugees.

For Sabine, family is a vague memory—she can’t even remember her last name. Without an identity, she hides—although thirty-five, she pretends to be twenty-eight, even to the refugee she falls in love with. But Sabine wants to recover her identity. Despite gangs, bombings, riots, and spreading disease, she longs to return to a family she has begun to recall—parents and brothers. Are they alive, surviving, in hiding as she is? Do they await news, and hope to reconcile? Even in harrowing times, Sabine’s desires to belong and to be loved pull her away from shelter.

About the author
Lenore Gay is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor. Near retirement she worked at her ten-year private counseling practice and later as the Coordinator of the Internship Program at the Rehabilitation Counseling Department, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her debut novel, SHELTER OF LEAVES, (She Writes Press) was published, August, 2016. The book was a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year and a finalist for an INDEFAB award. Her second novel, OTHER FIRES, (She Writes Press) is out now. Currently she is working on a new novel.

The Virginia Center for Creative Arts (VCCA) has awarded her two writing fellowships. Her short story “The Hobo” won first place in a fiction contest hosted by Richmond’s Style Weekly. Her essay “Mistresses of Magic” was published in the anthology, IN PRAISE OF OUR TEACHERS (Beacon Press). Another essay, “My First Mentor” was published in the anthology “US AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S” (Arcade Publishing). Fall, 2019.

For three years she served on the steering committee of the RVALitCrawl. Each year more than 70 writers read in venues around Richmond, Virginia. For many years she volunteered as a reader and editor at Blackbird, An Online Journal for Literature & the Arts, a publication of Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an active member of James River Writers.

Visit her online at

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