By:N.W Raven Author of Reprogrammed
Townsend is the first novel of the EverVigilant series and sets the fantastical but inspiring tone for what looks to become a wild paranormal ride. Townsend is a human woman
just trying to survive through life, surrounded by some of the darkest parts of humanity. She works not only in sales, but at a car lot, where greed, lust, and a distinct lack of compassion run rampant. While her exterior world tries to choke her in this darkness, her interior world has pretty much destroyed what strength she has left. Townsend fights a daily battle with debilitating pain; and to make matters worse, this battle is practically invisible to everyone who just sees the
fact that she is young and has yet to go through their outlook of pain. With even her own body pushing her to succumb to all this darkness, Townsend has started to lose her humanity bit by bit. Her world, however, starts to change when a Native American woman and her falcon appear at the car lot, setting in motion a series of paranormal events to push Townsend back into the light.
Winslow E. Dixon was diagnosed with Medullary Sponge Kidney, Endometriosis, and Adrenal Insufficiency, forcing her to drop her career in geriatrics to attend to her health.
However, that didn’t stop her helping others. Dealing with debilitating pain, she determined to find some way to turn her weaknesses to strengths. She is now the author of Arsenal of Arrows, a devotional journal challenge series; Peace by Piece, a 365-day inspirational health log journal; and Chronically Stoned: The Guide to Winning the Battle against Kidney Stones and UTI’s. She has also written a children’s book, The Shivering Sunbeam, aimed at explaining disabilities to
children in a way that makes sense. Winslow also now runs a patient advocacy organization, the Adrenal Alternatives Foundation, to help advocate for and spread hope to those with chronic illnesses, rare diseases, or disabilities. Her ongoing EverVigilant series is the first to feature a heroine dealing with a chronic illness and proudly showcases “the ‘spoonie’ fighting spirit.”
"My life had been filled with so much pain. Part of my soul yearned for rest. Part of my soul wanted to keep helping others."
Townsend is only human. She has doubts, she makes mistakes, and she’s selfish at times. Despite it being the theme of the novel, the main character isn’t the one doing the
spreading of hope too often. And that is precisely what makes Townsend incredible.
Townsend’s battle with pain, trust, and darkness paints a very realistic picture. Dixon doesn’t pull punches when detailing the nuances of living with a chronic illness or the heartbreak of
working in a nursing home. Townsend is skeptical almost to a fault and her pain usually causes her to be involuntarily short with others and selfish. Her character isn’t permanently static, but also doesn’t dramatically change. You feel her process of beginning to trust, beginning to care again, in a very organic way. You battle with her as she gets winded far too easily or struggles with the physical strains of a taxing job. And when she finally, finally starts to see the reasons behind her weaknesses and what really makes them strengths, her empowerment floods through you as well.
This novel is a fantastic testimony of life with chronic illness, and my hope is that it reaches those fighting every single day that yearn for this kind of representation in media. As
someone who struggles with both mental illness and “invisible” physical illness, this novel was a beacon of positivity but also relatability. Dixon, through Townsend’s wild adventure back to the light, reminds you that your scars aren’t mars of your character: they represent all you’ve been
through and all you’ve accomplished, and that you made it through alive.