Friday, April 15, 2011

Mediocre Historical Novel

Fifteen-year-old Ann Miller reluctantly turns down a marriage proposal from her romantic suitor because she's too young. She rues the decision, particularly when he takes up with another girl, but when Ann accompanies her father to Pittsburgh where he must complete a saddle commission, the world opens. Not one, but two eligible suitors appear.

On the positive side. I like the historical background for the novel. The author has based her characters on real people and has tried to proved an authentic historical backdrop. The plot moves swiftly with numerous twists which keep the reader turning the page. All these things make the novel quite interesting.

On the negative side, the characters, although based on historical people, are stereotypical. Ann is unimpressive as the naive heroine. However, Will, one of her potential suitors, is more true to life, particularly in the trials he endures. The book had many interesting plot twists, but, I felt, the ending was unsatisfactory. Although all the bad characters were punished, the mechanism seemed to be a device to end the novel than a demonstration of the characters' growth.

From a technical perspective, the writing was stilted. I can appreciate that the author was trying to convey a manner of speech in the time period, but that doesn't excuse the same sort of wooden writing for the descriptions. Christian fiction should be as least as well written as more generally popular romances.

I reviewed the book as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.