Welcome to my blog. I am not a very regular blogger, but I try to keep this site updated with news and information. If there's none of the above I may just share my random ruminations.

Monday, October 29, 2012

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

I have been very lucky. The reviews so far received for TORN and for LIFE CLASS have been complimentary. My overall star rating is nearer to 5 than to 4.  That was until I made TORN free for a few days.

Now, I  understand that receiving bad reviews is a rite of passage, that making your book free is laying you open to this likelihood, and you have to take it on the chin.

So instead of creeping away wounded, I've decided to share it with the world.  But I've added another favourable review to counter-balance my 'stinker'.

Reader and Writer says:
Someone who gave this 5 stars mentioned the 'brutal language' at the beginning as setting the tone for the rest of the book, and I agree, it certainly does, but not in a good way. I'm no prude, far from it, but it annoys me when writers think the only way to create gritty characters and hard-bitten plots is to pepper their writing with expletives and ugliness. To me it just underlines the lack of creativity and ingenuity in the writing. Use swear words by all means, but understand they have far greater impact when used sparingly and appropriately.

The opening page is one big cliche - someone waking up with a hangover, regretting the night before, etc etc - is so, so unoriginal, neither do I want to be told about vomit. We know it happens. If you must describe a hangover, find something different to say about it. That's what creative writing means, for goodness sake.

Really sorry, some might enjoy this but it's not for me.


Fair enough.  Horses for courses. But what does someone else have to say? 

TORN pulled me into the story of Jess from the very first paragraph. The book is a wonderful piece of prose from a gifted author with a unique voice. It is a romance with a twist, a slice from the life of Jessica Avery. On the one hand, TORN is about a thirty-something single mom who escapes a violently abusive relationship and the hassles of a stressful job in London, yearning for peace and stability in the country.

But on a deeper level, TORN is about the effects of abuse, the lurching starts and stops, the choices of an abused woman who in many ways is broken as she searches for a new life and a proper home for her child, stumbling along the way.

Listen to the rhythm of Ms. Allan's prose as Jess speaks:
"'Tonight marks a fresh start. A new life. And I'm determined to get it right this time.' With the words-and all the underlying unspoken implications-she felt the up-swell of elation, the utter conviction that re-making her life would be easy."

Jess's quest is more than she bargained for, however, and she falls into the arms of one man, only to fall into the arms of another.

TORN chronicles Jess's coming of age, if you will, her growth as a person, and the novel's scenes--those with her friends and with her child, Rory, who during the course of the narrative, has milestones of his own--include her romantic relationships with men in quite detailed and beautifully written prose. In fact, the sex scenes are masterfully written. A tightly-written novel, all the scenes, including those in the bedroom, have a purpose: they move the story along and illuminate the characters, especially Jess.

Ms. Allan has created a very complex character in Jess, totally believable, one who surprised and, at times, angered this reader, and the novel centers around her growth. And the minor characters, Danny, James, Rory, Sean have their own special voice. For those who want a compelling romance a finely written story told with rich prose, TORN by British author, Gilli Allan, is a must read.