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More Reviews for Robert W

Books

Praise for PROSPECTS

Bill Bushnell,
CentralMaine.com

Mining for gemstones and minerals began in Maine 200 years ago, driven by dreams of great wealth hidden beneath the earth’s surface. Mining has always been risky, dangerous and economically unpredictable, especially as portrayed in Robert Spencer’s novel “Prospects.”

 

Spencer lives in Waterford and this is his second novel, following “The Spinster’s Hope Chest.” This is an ambitious, complex novel covering the years 1896-1903, split between the mining history of Oxford County and the Victorian-era, soap-opera dramas of working-class families.

 

The story combines mining history, business deals, family relationships, courtship, romance, tragedy, deceit, heartache, suspense and even murder, providing an exciting tale. Spencer also uses clever foreshadowing, so readers must pay attention to catch clues to what might happen next.

 

Canadian miner Clarence Potter shows up in Maine in 1896, full of ideas for getting rich mining for gemstones and rare earth minerals. He is hired to mine for feldspar, mica, quartz and tourmaline, and enjoys some success. But Potter is an enigma, something about him just doesn’t seem right.  He is a widower with three children, looking for a new wife, and settles on 20-year-old Lottie, a young woman swept off her feet by this worldly man’s attentions. An abrupt elopement and wedding sets off a bitterly contentious family drama with unpleasant results.

 

Meanwhile, Aphia Stevens, a supposed widow, is nuts, threatening neighbors and a former rival for her husband’s hand. Her farm abuts one of Potter’s mines and escalating trouble ensues, including an accidental shooting death and suspicions of multiple murder.

 

Spencer’s portrayal of southern Maine’s pegmatite mining history is fascinating — the business of mining, investing, financing, products and the frequent risk of failure. The ending, however, is sudden and surprising, capping an entertaining family and business saga.

True Page Turners

M.K.Donovan
Charlestown, MA & Mount Desert Island, Maine

Spencer draws his readers into the story’s space, grounding them in the
place and time of the narrative. Lizzie Millett, strong protagonist of the
first novel, The Spinster’s Hope Chest and the second PROSPECTS, Mining Maine for Riches, is a character I can identify with, nearly befriend. In this third novel of the Lizzie Millett Series Francena Hallett’s Heart, she shows her family and friends how to face evil bravely. These books are wonderful in a singular style. True page turners.

Another Beautifully Written Story

Susan Clout, author of The Six Week Road Trip

Spencer has given us another beautifully written story about life in rural Maine in the late 1800s. PROSPECTS takes the reader through the life of a poor Canadian miner hoping to strike it rich in the western hills. It doesn’t take long for the reader to become immersed in the lives of all the quirky characters in Clarence Potter’s life. The author has done a remarkable job setting scenes and writing dialogue that allows his readers to truly understand what life could have been like back then.

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