I'm in two minds over this book. I do like it, but I struggled here and there.
Initially, I was drawn to both the writing and the main character -- for both hold great potential, but too many words blocked the flow of the writing, which brought out the critic in me and had me re-examining everything. (Words such as, "And then", "But then", "suddenly", "And that's when", and "finally". I think these words troubled me because, as a recently contracted author who has been given a list of words [from my publisher] to delete from my writing, I found these a hindrance -- so I won't hold that against Ms Danley.)
Clara struck me as a strong woman -- even while grieving for her deceased husband -- and I wanted to see her happy and content again, but I tripped over the romance side of this story. It happened too "suddenly", and before I held any faith in the gentleman in question. To me, with Clara's heart doing an about-face so quickly, she became a weaker character. She didn't impress me as being in love, but as being desperate and needy. Which is a shame, because she had the foundation of a great character. Had the story been longer, with more action and 'emotional manipulation' of my heart (and theirs, of course), where the relationship could've been explored and built upon, Clara would've blossomed into an amazing woman. Or, at least, we would have witnessed the transformation for ourselves.
As for the man Clara falls in love with, I didn't know whether or not I could trust him, especially when he did not come across as having a strong character. I would've liked to have 'fallen in love' with him before Clara had; but I didn't. In fact, I didn't care much for him by the end of the story, either; for he had no heroic characteristics for me to stand in awe of. He was, for me, too 'small'; too weak.
Perhaps the issue I have is, while I did not dislike this story, the writer, as good as she is, did not carry me to the depths of my heart. I am happy to invest my heart into fiction -- in fact, I want to, even if I'm left heartbroken by the last page -- but, unfortunately, I found myself trapped in my thoughts, wondering about 'this' and 'that' and 'if only'.
Despite my objections -- which I give without bitterness or disappointment -- I still give A Spirited Manor 4 stars. Anything less feels wrong. Even though it's already published, it is a story that could be reworked (a little) in order to bring out its greatness.
- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Independently Published (30 August 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1718145004
- ISBN-13: 978-1718145009
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 222 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review