Updated: Aug 10
What is the Source of your Catalyst?
We all have people who we meet, or things that happen to us in our lives, that create a change within us. Sometimes, we see them coming from a mile away, but other times they happen unexpectedly. Whichever way they are manifested, they may catalyze us in a way that causes us to never be the same again- whether we like it or not.
Selin Senol-Akin captures this very theme with ease in her debut novel The Catalyst, published in March of 2020. Though grouping her novel into the mystery genre would be accurate, The Catalyst is a novel that blends mystery with thriller and romance as well as women’s fiction. As a new author, Selin shows that her passion- and skill- for writing is as natural as it gets in the way that she was able to mesh several categories and not distract the reader from the book’s purpose.
The novel follows Kaitlin, a sophisticated, free-spirited woman in Advertising who finds herself moving from her lifestyle in Canada to Norway with her husband Paul where she is slowly fading into a bored housewife.
But some things never change, and it is clear Kaitlin is seeking a chance to feel that free-spirited nature come alive within herself again, in a way that her home life just may not be able to give her. Then she meets Finn, a mysterious man who has intriguing opportunities for her, and from that moment- she was catalyzed.
The events that unravel from there will not be spoiled for you, as I urge you to give this new author’s novel a chance at a full read. The very first chapter throws some heavy plot-lines our way that makes us wonder what type of book we have just picked up- but in a good way.
I will say, that Selin did not disappoint in being sure to throw some curve balls to keep the pace of the novel on point. Cliffhangers and open-interpretations galore, it is one of those stories that urges you to page-turn just to see if your suspicions are right. I am not afraid to admit, that there were quite a few things I did not see coming, but it made me enjoy my read even more.
Her character development was rather strong as well, as I found myself attached to Kaitlin’s journey on a personal level- wanting her to make the best decisions. I had strong opinions about some of the other characters as well, though I do not want to give too much away. Despite that, it all goes towards Selin’s ability to structure a story well, and with enough conviction for me to want to see it through.
My favorite aspect of the book were the minor concepts that Selin shed light on as it stands with the female perspective. Kaitlin goes through many things in her marriage, and as a woman, that not only resonated with me but also validated some of my own personal thoughts as it pertains to love and my feminine identity. I appreciate Selin using Kaitlin as a catalyst for that in her readers, as I believe women who read this book will feel the same as me on that notion.
Selin Senol-Akin is not just a novelist, but a poet, teacher, and mother as well. I am excited to watch her writing career blossom to all the potential I know she will reach. I had the pleasure of getting to know Selin more when we had the privilege of connecting with her for our Gal of the Week segment. To read how Selin went from creative explorer to feminine pioneer in our blog here.
-Christine Weimer, @beacolorfulyou