Published 2005, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-0-7653-5973-9, 430 pages
Soul by Tobsha Learner is a novel that connects Lavinia Huntingon with her great-granddaughter, Julia Huntington. Lavinia's story commences in Ireland in 1848, while Julia's begins in Afghanistan in 2002.
The premise and connecting theme in Soul is whether some people have genetic makeup that predisposes them to violence and lack emotional aftermath. Julia herself has experienced this phenomen in Afghanistan when she kills an assailant and feels no remorse or repulsion. She's heard rumors about her great-grandmother's equally ruthless nature.
Julia and Lavinia's stories parallel in that Julia is going through a messy divorce and Lavinia is enduring a messy marriage with a deviant husband. Both loved their husbands dearly during their marriage, until calamity struck.
Julia, a scientist, is given a secret commission by the government to isolate the genome which would permit the government to put together a crack killer team that will act without compunction. Lavinia is equally intelligent, but her husband does not permit her to use her intellect by assisting him with his studies of Amazon tribes.
Soul is a plodding novel that combines historical fiction with contemporary. The action is slow. When the climax does occur in both Lavinia's and Julia's lives, it is too late. I found I had long lost any engagement I might have had with either character.
On a cautionary note, Soul contains a few graphic erotic scenes.
Rating: ** (Okay)