“I will return again and again to that moment. I will keep a notebook in which I record the details…this is what I tell them, this is what I know: I was walking on the beach with Emma. It was cold and very foggy. She let go of my hand. I stopped to photograph a seal pup, then glanced up toward the Great Highway. When I looked back, she was gone.” The Year of Fog, Chapter 3
The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond (2007) is a spellbinding novel that grips you from the very first page. I’d never heard of author, Michelle Richmond, until I happened to pick up the book in a Target store not long ago. The cover looked interesting, and I took note that the story takes place in San Francisco - one of my favorite cities. I flipped it open - the first and second chapters are very short, only a couple of pages. Chapter One begins: “Here is the truth, this is what I know: we were walking on Ocean Beach, hand in hand. It was a summer morning, cold, July in San Francisco. The fog lay white and dense over the sand and ocean - an enveloping mist so thick I could only see a few feet in front of me.”
The opening hooked me. After that, I knew I had to buy the book and read it. The Year of Fog is written from the perspective of Abby Mason, a photographer who is engaged to Jake, father of six- year-old Emma. After Emma suddenly disappears during a walk on the beach, Abby is wracked with guilt and goes on her own year-long, emotionally tormented journey to find her - even after everyone else, including Emma’s father, has given up. This book highlights how life can change in an instant and explores the themes of guilt, trust, loss and love - all against the hauntingly beautiful, foggy backdrop of San Francisco. However, at the end of the book, I felt unsettled. It doesn’t end all wrapped up in a pretty bow and I somehow felt things were left unsaid. So, imagine my surprise when I recently learned that author, Michelle Richmond has written another final chapter that’s now available as an ebook! (ISBN 978-1-4524-9639-9) Fantastic! Good news for those, like me, who found this book to be a page-turner and didn’t want it to end.
From the author’s website:
A note from Michelle:
A few weeks before THE YEAR OF FOG went to press, I found myself agonizing over the ending . Was I saying too much? Too little? Should I tie up all the loose ends, or should I go with a more open-ended approach? Since The Year of Fog was published in 2007, I’ve been fortunate to receive thousands of emails from readers, many of whom keep coming back to the same questions. I hope that Chapter 82 will satisfy their curiosity. For those who have asked if a sequel is in the works, I will say that, although I haven’t yet set pen to paper, I do find that Abby and Emma still haunt me. One day, I may yet return to the characters of The Year of Fog.
About the author:
Michelle Richmond is an American author and essayist who was born in Alabama and attended college at The University of Alabama and graduate school at the University of Miami. Her first book was a story collection titled “The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress,” which won the Associated Writing Program Award for Short Story Fiction in 2000. She’s the author of several books - “The Year of Fog” is her third novel. Michelle currently resides in San Francisco.