Friday, September 12, 2008

How to begin

You try and try to get started on a new novel but nothing gets written until the characters are darned good and ready.  They'll let you know when that is so you might as well relax.  It ain't gonna happen 'til it happens no matter how hard you push your Muse.

Best Historical Fiction I've read in a long time.

The Phoenix by Ruth Sims (Writers Collective, 2004) 343 pages ISBN: 1932133402

This is one story you don’t want to miss. It had me crying before I got past chapter two and laughing halfway through chapter eight. The book is a marvel of passionate difficulties without ever feeling like an emotional roller-coaster.

There were a few point of view problems with description of what the POV character did not see but they were not severe enough to interrupt the flow. Altogether, the writing is superb, evocative. I found some details a bit jarring, not because they were out of place, but because I was surprised to discover that such things existed so long ago.

The author’s research is flawless, her writing tight and uncluttered. This is not a book for skip readers. Every word and comma is essential to the story, which, to this reviewer is exactly as it should be.

The love between St. Denys and Dr. Stuart is subtle, sultry and real; their emotion deep, rugged and lasting. I paused many time to sit back and let the intricacies of the story flow quietly through my mind.

One could not help but laugh at the thought of The Mrs. Aster with diamonds on her knickers.

The Phoenix thoroughly involves the reader. The specifics of both theater and surgery pull the reader into diverse scenes with ease, and hold them there – in the past – with Kit when his worthless excuse for a father comes after him. Tom Roarke is an excellently drawn villain. This reader could not wait to see him meet his end.

By chapter twenty-two, the urge to steal a glimpse at the end is strong and difficult to resist but you must resist it or you’ll miss the fun. As with any good drama, just as near unbearable the move toward the finale begins complete with comedy, unexpected misunderstandings and false hints.

Overall, I can’t remember when I’ve ever enjoyed a book so much. Get it. Read it then pass it along. This one is definitely worth sharing [if you can bring yourself to part with it at all]

Peggy Ullman Bell: author Fixin’ Things & Sappho sings.
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