Not Exactly a Rave Review, But a Fair Assessment

Well, here it is. The Publishers Weekly review of my Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entry Daughter Am I:

A group of spunky octogenarians joins a woman on a search to discover the truth about the grandparents she never knew she had. After inheriting the farm of her estranged, murdered grandparents, Mary Louise Stuart discovers photos and an address book in the Colorado farmhouse and becomes obsessed with finding out who her grandparents were and who would want them dead. With each question, another senior citizen joins the quest — former friends and gangsters with names like Crunchy, Iron Sam, Happy, Lila Lorraine. The mystery deepens with each stop in their whirlwind tour of the Midwest: who’s following them? A love interest ensues between Mary and Tim Olsen, whose grandpa was good friends with her great-grandfather. While the author certainly researched the history of the Mafia, too many of the numerous historical asides — and subplots — are tacked on under the guise of story time, making the story drag with detail abut Wyatt Earp, the JFK assassination and bootleggers. But underneath the relentless bouts of story time is a delightful treasure-hunting tale of finding one’s self in a most unlikely way.

Not exactly a rave review, but a fair assessment.

I can understand why the reviewer didn’t like my “relentless bouts of story time,” but the whole purpose of my writing the story was to debunk the myths about the so-called Mafia in this country. The Mafia as we know it is a figment of Hollywood. Teach, a con man and the storyteller in my novel, says, “People talk as if the Mafia and the Syndicate are still active today, but the Syndicate phased out the American Mafia, wealth phased out the Syndicate, and now new gangs of all races and nationalities have taken their place.”

I wanted a framework for telling the history of gangsterism in this country, and I decided on a mythic journey using aged gangsters for the archetypal figures. As the hero’s journey progresses, her mentors tell stories of the old days. Listening to the stories and putting all the pieces together, she learns who her grandparents were and who she is.

I suppose I could take out some of the stories to make the novel more publishable (which I will do if an agent or editor ever requests it) but for now they stay. Until I read this review, I hadn’t realized how much I miss the all those novelists who did tack on historical asides. In fact, I used to seek out books by authors such as Taylor Caldwell and Noel Barber for that very reason.

So, if that’s the only thing the reviewer objected to, I have no objection to the review.

You can take a look at my entry here:

2 Responses to “Not Exactly a Rave Review, But a Fair Assessment”

  1. lynn doiron Says:

    The first thing that popped into my head re: the historical asides is the long history of a particular yacht in Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. One of my all time favorite novels, even with the long aside, so my thought, Pat, is that you’re in exceptionally good company. Congratulations on the review (read like a rave to me).

  2. Bertram Says:

    Still doesn’t work. It brings me to my dashboard if I am logged in and a message that I am denied access if I’m not logged in.

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