I survived! Another Halloween is now in the record books: I planned and ran a 4th grade school party, I watched 600+ kids parade through the school gym, AND I took my 3 kiddos out Trick-or-Treating—not once, but twice! We joined a majority of our town in doing a safe Trick-or-Treating along Main Street from 3-5pm. Then, after a hearty dinner, we ventured out into the neighborhood where we spent a few more hours collecting an ungodly amount of sugar. Fun was had by one and all, and I think I've eaten enough Sweetarts to get me through to next Halloween; I'm glad I survived to tell the tale. Speaking of mayhem and the macabre, I love a good thriller or mystery book to read around Halloween—and today's Book Spotlight was definitely an interesting novella to read for the holiday.
Ella "Don't-call-me-Mom" Scott is verbally abusive, dismissive, and nothing is ever her fault; she makes sure to tell her three sons and daughter, Jennifer, that daily. Ella's sons are able to endure the abuse and quickly leave the house, but Jen isn't quite as lucky. She holds onto the hate and anger she has for Ella, and it torments her adult life. Jen decides she wants to seek revenge and make Ella's life just as miserable as hers has been. Will it bring Jen the happiness she's been seeking? (Well, I can't tell you that...talk about a major spoiler.)
Watch Book Trailer:
Gems for Writers:
Suspense. This novella has a dark vibe running throughout it. I was hooked from the beginning and went along for the thrilling ride. I loved the overall suspense in the story, and the twist at the end was unexpected. I wanted to know if Jen would be able to rise above her childhood abuse. Would she be able to find and experience true love? Would Jen be able to find peace and happiness? In my mind, so many questions equals lots of suspense.
Description. I will give big props to Ms. Watkins for her lovely use of the English language. Her writing voice is easy to follow and quite captivating. She knows how to paint a literary picture, and it beckons for you to follow along. I could feel Jen's pain, and I admit I thought Ella should pay for all the terrible things she did and said to people. As I've mentioned in a previous Spotlight, I like having the scenery spelled out for me so I can just transport myself there—and this short story didn't disappoint in that area.
Pebbles to Polish:
Tacked-On Endings. I wish there were no epilogue. It sort of ruined it for me. The epilogue was preachy and didn't add anything to the story. I don't want to spoil anything, but I think the prologue clearly spelled out what was going on without being preachy. The epilogue took it to the next level and it just left an annoyed taste in my mouth. I think the ending of the story would have had a bigger impact without the epilogue.
If the epilogue hadn't been included, I would have given this 5 stars. I liked the dark, twisty thriller aspect. It was a well written, quick read that entertained, intrigued, and made me evaluate my life in some ways. I took away from Jen and Ella's story to always be kinder than necessary and don't allow other's action to dictate how you live your life. If you decide to give this novella a whirl, let me know what you think.
Until next time...
***Thorns of an Innocent Soul (2013), by Barbara Watkins, is published by and copyright BNW Publishing. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.