There is a strong undercurrent of love throughout The Shadow Catcher. The first hint of it appears when Marianne (the character) is reluctant to turn her book over to the film executives who want to adapt her story. Marianne is hesitant because she does not believe that whoever will adapt her novel will accurately present her characters. Marianne is particularly attached to her main character, Edward Curtis, whom she has come to know through her extensive research. What she does not know about the man, she has made up, and in the process she has come to love him. Her tendency is to protect him—or to protect the image of him that she has created.

Clara, the young woman who will become Edward’s wife, has also fallen in love with Edward. She is enthralled merely by his presence. Edward’s silence rouses her curiosity. His seemingly dismissive attitude drives her desire to gain his attention. She wants him, even though she barely knows him. In many ways, Clara’s knowledge of Edward is similar to Marianne’s. Both women have made up a version of Edward because Edward himself is so secretive. Unlike Marianne, though, Clara has to live with Edward. She bears his children as well as his long absences. Eventually, Clara runs out of love for this man who has laid upon her a burden too heavy to carry.

Clara’s love for her brother, Hercules, appears more realistic, and it runs very deep. At first that love is on a sibling level, but after their parents die, Clara develops a mother’s love for Hercules. She wants to protect and nurture him. Later in the story, when both Clara and Hercules are adults, Clara loves Hercules as if he were her protector and her last chance. When Hercules dies, Clara, who has spent so many of her years taking care of everyone around her, cannot survive.

In a bizarre accident during a snowstorm, Clara’s parents die in front of their two...

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