REVIEWED BY CINDY
AUTHOR: Jane Elliot
PUBLISHER: Manifold Press
LENGTH: 182 Pages
Approaching middle age, Garrison Gaines is aware that all his humble hopes for the future have crumbled into dust. He’s travelling through the vast Unorganized Territories of the central United States when his path crosses that of Randy Everett, a young man who dreams of great adventures in exotic far-away locales – and, while no one can accurately predict the future, one thing is quite certain: that neither man will walk away from the encounter completely unaffected.
So, for once I’m at a loss about a review. I have no idea how to put my jumbled feelings into words so I’m just gonna wing it.
Let’s start with the characters. Garrison Gaines is a man whom no one has ever loved and it’s made him a sad and lonely man. When we meet him, he’s on the verge of death and really can’t find any reason to fight it. He had my sympathy from the beginning but stole my heart before the story was through.
Randy Everett has had a completely different kind of life, having been loved and cared for by his family his whole life. A health crisis has him on the road to adventure and his enthusiasm is heartwarming and you can’t help but be taken by him.
The writing in this story is amazing. The descriptions of the surroundings are perfect. It’s enough to paint a picture to help the reader see the scene in their head without dragging down the story and risking it stalling out.
We see the whole story from Garrison’s POV and seeing him grow and come to understand just what it is that’s going on in his head and in his heart is amazing and I smiled as many times as I was moved to tears.
There was nothing about this story I didn’t love and I couldn’t wait to recommend it to a friend of mine and I was sure she would love it as much as I did…until I got to the end.
And there-in lies the problem. That horrible ending that had me cursing out loud and if I had actually been holding a book, it would have been flying across the room in a fit of rage. Fortunately, my self-control saved my computer.
If this book had been coming from my publisher, it would have been tagged a bittersweet dreams title and I’ll be honest, I never would have read it. I read to escape from the harsh realities of life and so while I can deal with a truckload of angst in a story, I need to have at the very least hope for the future.
This ending was like a kick in the teeth and it leaves me with this problem. If I rate this book with my head and ONLY on everything but the last few paragraphs, I would give it 5 stars. The characters were amazing, the setting was real and the writing was captivating. The author’s style is smart and compelling and she has a masterful grasp on language and grammar.
But that ending…it broke my heart
If I was spiteful, I’d give the story a 2 star rating and be done with it, but that wouldn’t be fair or honest. As much as I hate the way it ended, I fully acknowledge as a reader and a writer that it’s the author’s prerogative on where to take a story (and sometimes they are just dragged along by the characters against their will) and that’s how it should be.
I also don’t really believe that books should have warnings on them (except in cases of sexual abuse or extreme violence which can be triggers for some people). When you buy a book and start reading it, you as the reader take the chance of it not going where you want it to go. That being said, I’m still really upset and disappointed which is my prerogative as a reader.
I’m not sure I’ll seek out more works by this author because I would be worried about being hit with one of these endings again, but if you’re someone who appreciates that real life doesn’t always go the way we wanted to and that not every romance has a happy ending then I think you will love this well-written story.