Simsbury author and artist Melissa Croghan will give a reading from her recently published first novel, The Tracking Heart, on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., at the Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon.
Described by Croghan as “a hymn to nature,” The Tracking Heart is a suspense novel and a story of lost love that revolves around a legendary, supernatural black bear in the Pennsylvania mountain wilderness.
“Bears have a powerful hold over the human psyche and we have a history of both conflict and communion with them, not unlike our relationships with each other, and nature itself,” Croghan said.
“It can be downright scary and awe-inspiring to encounter a bear,” she added. “The first time it happened I was walking in the woods near my home in Simsbury. After seeing a bear in the flesh, so to speak, I was finally able to sit down and write a final draft of The Tracking Heart.”
The novel also addresses the pros and cons of hunting, with the two main protagonists on opposing sides of the issue.
Best-selling, New York Times author Margot Livesey has called The Tracking Heart “a splendid debut … Melissa Croghan writes with grace and ease about her vivid cast of complicated characters and the result is a morally complex and deeply suspenseful novel.”
According to The Kirkus Review, Croghan’s novel weaves a tale “of lost loves and covered up crimes … multiple plotlines converge in this complex, satisfying nature story.”
The author will read excerpts from The Tracking Heart, as well as a few of her published poems. Following questions, there will be a book-signing and reception. Copies of the novel will be available for purchase.
Croghan, whose oil painting graces the cover of her novel, is also an award-winning, oil painter whose artwork has been displayed in Connecticut and beyond, most recently at The Hartford Fine Art Gallery and the University of Connecticut Health Center.