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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
In Strange Places by Clare Porac is a story about an ambitious career-driven young woman trying to make her mark in a largely male-dominated field in 1974. After completing her Ph.D. in psychology, Susan Barron searches in vain for job opportunities. Coerced by her research professor, Dan Kavline, Susan reluctantly applies at James Douglas University in Victoria, British Columbia, where she gets a job in the first-year faculty. Additionally, Dan makes her a co-author on a textbook that he's working on. However, after reaching Victoria, Susan finds herself lost and alone in a different country with anti-social colleagues, a sexist and ignorant department head, hard-to-impress students, and her own writer's block. Furthermore, Dan's sexual advances make it difficult for them to work together while a burgeoning relationship with a colleague becomes increasingly complex.
Author Clare Porac tells an engaging tale about a talented young woman constantly finding herself at the mercy of her superiors in a hostile work environment. This book is a sharp commentary on the social hierarchy and work environment of the 70s, where there is a lack of spotlight on men in positions of power who constantly took advantage of their employees. This is a character-driven drama, and the slow-burn narrative style really pulls you into the story. You can't help but feel for Susan's plight as she struggles to balance her professional and personal life due to being manipulated by a habitual liar who holds the key to her potential academic success. I highly recommend In Strange Places.