Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Novel Approach: dual book review for Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love

The book review blog The Novel Approach posted a thoughtful dual review of my recent books Every Time I Think of You and its sequel Message of Love.

This is particularly heartwarming to me, in that reviewer Lisa not only offers praise, but some accurate critiques on the pacing of the sequel.

On Every Time I Think of You:

"Provenzano captures the voice, the emotions, and every pang of urgency that goes along with falling in love for the first time in Every Time I Think of You, the story of Reid Conniff and Everett Forrester, two seventeen year old boys who embark upon a journey of desire and an unexpected test of their love in the late 1970s."

She also gets what I've done with the narration to not reveal too much, and add a bit of mystery:

"The intimacy the author injects into this novel, choosing to limit the point of view, allows us to see Everett only through Reid’s eyes, giving the reader the sense that there are things about him, Everett, we don’t know, and perhaps never will, as his and Reid’s relationship continues to mature and evolve."

And evolve it does, into the sequel, where Reid and Everett attend college, together, then separately, in Philadelphia, in the early 1980s. Here's a review excerpt:

"The day-to-day domesticity in this literary piece made for a slow and at times prosaic 374 pages, peppered only occasionally with light conflict that was easily resolved but supported the idyllic nature of the story’s theme. Where Every Time I Think of You moved along briskly through the boys’ trials and tragedies, Message of Love requires the reader to persevere through a somewhat cumbersome narration of details that don’t always serve to evolve the plot or the characters. While that doesn’t mean Message of Love is at all poorly written, it does serve as a contrast to the strength of Every Time I Think of You."

And the closer: " If you enjoy a character-driven plot about the triumph of love, that’s what you’ll find between the covers if the book."

Yup. It's a bit long, and I could use the excuse 'I meant to do that,' but the way I structured it led to a longer, perhaps indulgent narrative that didn't have the sense of eager pacing in the prior book.

But again, that's what I wanted to do, to expand their narrative, not over-exaggerate any conflicts, and convey a sense of cyclical time passage. I enjoyed my research visit to Philadelphia, piecing together actual events with the setting and fictional story. And that required a more expansive story line. It's admittedly a full plate, and the reviewer doesn't gloss over that.

I truly appreciate thoughtful, honest critiques like Lisa's at The Novel Approach. Check out their contributors' other reviews.

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