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Please make sure to read the EXPLANATORY NOTES before reading these reviews.

Alternative stories are designated as such with an [Alt] at the end of the title line.

This file features reviews of stories written by Minerva. For any other fiction by this bard please visit any of the Xena fan fiction indexes.

**WHITE NIGHTS by Minerva - [Alt]
Riveting from the very first sentence, Minerva's latest promises to be one of the most memorable ubers of the year. A compelling, contemporary tale about one woman's struggle against a lifetime of abuse, the story chronicles as well the cycle of violence that has entrapped those around her and the power of compassion and love to break that cycle. Emotionally crippled, Michelle St. Jean nevertheless manages to find a spark deep within her after the latest beating from her husband - a spark that drives her to run with the only two souls who mean anything to her in the world, her baby son and the loyal Huskie who's tried to protect her at the risk of his own life. Going from one storm into another, Michelle plunges into the midst of a blizzard starting down a road that will eventually bless her with a lifeline she had never hoped to find. Dr. Bobbi Waszinski is a talented doctor haunted by the events in an emergency room five years before until the desperation in a pair of terrified green eyes gives her a new sense of purpose. Reluctant at first to get involved, Bobbi is inevitably moved by the young mother she finds in the middle of a storm - amazed that one with a spirit so broken can still have the will to not only survive, but aspire to something more. Inspired to challenge her own demons, the doctor will in turn offer Michelle the one thing she's never had - a friend. From this friendship, a deeper bond will grow even as the violence that has gripped Michelle her whole life threatens to close in around her once again. Passing from one generation to the next, intent on destroying a third, that violence will run rampant unless the love of two women and the unlikely courage of another can combine to finally put an end to it. Minerva's story is beautifully written, incorporating flashbacks and very effectively interweaving the characters' thoughts throughout the narrative. Her villains have been victims themselves - shaped into what they are by the circumstances of their own pasts. Her leads are human beings with fears, failings, insecurities. Most fascinating of all is the young woman at the heart of this story - a representative of the human spirit at its most indomitable, fighting to endure and overcome and find fulfillment against all the odds. A gripping novel you're not likely to forget any time soon, this is one of those that elevates the quality of Internet fiction yet another notch up. A MUST READ - it gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! [note: review is based on a reading of the story through chapter 33 though only the first two chapters are now publicly available on the web] [unfinished] - 13 pgs., 3/11/01

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