Ms. Donaldson employs the English language like a conductor of a symphony brings a collection of musical instruments to life through the artful direction of the musicians. She is the rare author who can invoke a scene with just the right amount of description, enthralling us with her vivid and poetic world.
The book’s pacing, steady and compelling from the beginning, moves along practically at lightning speed once Elizabeth and her step-niece Maddie (whom Elizabeth hires as her assistant) arrive in Ashland. In what seems like no time at all, Elizabeth and Maddie are adopted by a stray dog (newly-named Puck, naturally), settle into their new funky, artsy, bohemian surroundings, and get caught up in the exciting creative energy of live theater.
Fifteen major characters are a lot for a reader to keep straight, but the presence of many personalities allows McMillan to address a range of contemporary social issues. The American prison system, with its many African American inmates, long sentences and lack of rehabilitation, is shown through an inmate’s eyes. Another character shows the stress of being in the closet.
In Morning Light, the adult David reports Emily’s emotions from that memorable summer of their youth. It is more effective when the author shows those emotions being played out.
In this reader-friendly, accessible novel, two parents from different cultures and social classes bond because each has lost a child. Yet The Lemon Orchard is more than a romance between a modern-day star-crossed Lady Chatterley and a Mellors, however, for it involves a not issue in the United States – illegal immigration.
An unreliable first person narrator allows for the same pleasures of deduction that one would find in a who-done-it. In Flora, readers must be like young Helen, sorting out the contents of a drawer, deciding what’s important enough to retain, and what to let go.
As always in a Warren Adler book, the writing goes down like a cool mint frappe, smooth and delectable. Mr. Adler’s dialog is natural and on target, and progressive scenes draw the reader forward in a rush to reach resolution. His characters come alive on the page and reveal human foibles.
The knowledge that this author has firsthand experience of wartime journalism comes as no surprise when reading this engrossing book. With her thorough research and attention to historical detail, I felt as if I was taking a peep into hitherto hidden war files, rather than reading a work of fiction.
The climatic end builds along the way to a conclusion that suggests a follow on story is in the works. Many readers that like high technology and worry about the future of America and their own lives and retirement will find this a fun trip into story land in more ways than one.
Employing lyrical prose, Kenney narrates the poignantly observed story of a fictional family, the Brennans, as they voyage from poverty to comfort, from one era to the next during the latter half of the last century. Dividing his themes into separate chapters, the author focuses on different members of the Brennan household thus creating a complex oral history wherein time circles backwards and forwards around a series of family events and experiences.