This is a gripping novel set in Maine

The Vigilance Of Stars by Patricia O’Donnell is a novel full of gripping stories and very real characters. It was very hard to put it down and stop reading.

The characters are connected and the series of stories are troubling, from the young lady who gets pregnant, only to have her boyfriend abandon her, to the older lady whose partner ends up in a senior living home unable to communicate with her.

And then there’s the young woman who suffers a traumatic illness and hospital procedure. When she gets out of the hospital, she’s very depressed and moves into her family’s camp on Parker Pond, which happens to be just a couple miles from my Mount Vernon home. And a lot of her story is about her time alone at that camp.

One interesting thing that happened is she meets Wilhelm Reich, a real person who lived in the Rangeley area. The woman sits in Reich’s orgone accumulator, essentially a box where you sit alone for 15 minutes. In that box, the young woman gets rid of her depression.

You may know that Reich was arrested and then put in prison for shipping is his boxes all over the country, violating a court order banning that. He died in prison and his estate is now the Wilhelm Reich Museum which is open to visitors from July through October.

Patricia O’Donnell is a professor of creative writing at the University of Maine at Farmington. She lives in Wilton and has a camp on Parker Pond. And yes, she is a very creative writer!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.