First of all, the bad news begins with how tough this book is to read even from the very beginning. There are some rough transitions from what the reader thinks is the main protagonist as he begins the story for us (in a drunken stupor, so, granted there is bound to be some hard to follow sequences when dealing with inebriated folks)...but within just a few pages, the reader is introduced to over 20 characters that fall into the story line.
Trying to keep the story straight, trying to grasp on to the main character that you want to like and want to follow gets tough. Along the way you don't know if you've been introduced to someone because this story is really all about their journey through life, so you try to sop up every little detail. The problem is that so many details are added over and over, and piled one on top another so quickly in the story, it soon gets hard to care about anyone at all.
I think this is a case of a new author who will very willing to share every single detail of their story with the reader, and sometime that works. In this case, it seems to overwhelm the reader right away. I had to sit the story down over and over again to try to "arrange" all the characters in my head so I could follow the story. I requested someone else read the story (without sharing this concern of mine) and the comment that came back within hours of their beginning to read the story was that "it was too hard to follow, too many side stories to try to keep up with it."
Along the way there are also numerous spelling and grammar errors. I know, I know, there is an acknowledgement at the beginning about the book being professionally edited. But! I am just saying that I could point out several blaring spelling mistakes (in one case, "fiend" for "friend") and commas are just rampant throughout the writing. For long time readers, stuff like that is just a little irritating and actually separate the more professional publications from self publishers so hopefully the next installment with be read with much more care towards the technical spelling & grammar concerns.
So, here I go now with the good news for a little while.
The characters grow on you. Once you can separate the many, many story lines and decide which character you're going to follow then you can finally get some peace by trying to ignore most of the details of the stories heading down rabbit holes, and grab onto the savory bits and pieces of what is important to the reader. I had to ask myself 'Who do I like? Why do I like them? Why do they do what they do? How did their choices affect their lives and others?'
It is clearly understood that this book is being written in a genre that is normally full of hard to believe coincidences, words unspoken, feelings un-communicated, and love lost. It is the mystery of this human struggle that allows this genre to grab and entertain the reader, tugging at heart strings with hope for redemption, a prayer for the underdog to win, win, win and for true love to triumph over all.
Now here is another slight problem with this particular writing, in that, at the end (and NO, I will not share any details with you) real life has been reflected in that the readers hopes and dreams are not completely fulfilled or realized. That may be a good thing but I remember as I read the last few words of the story I came away disappointed for what had transpired with my character of choice. I just remember thinking that I wish the writer had not kept the story so close to real life, and that everything had ended well.
I think that a kinder, "softer" ending would have encouraged me more to want to read the next installment of this family's story. And what's wrong with wanting a happy ending -- albiet until the next episode -- since most people read books to escape the disappointments they find in life every day?
Here is my recommendation for this book. Read it to get in on the ground floor of the Caselli family details. Read it slowly, pick out the characters you want to care about, and let the author know which ones you did care about, and what questions you have for their ongoing story. When the reading gets rough, just get away from it for an hour or two and go back and read, read, read, to get to know these people. There is a great bunch of stories to hear here, they just need to be drawn out little by little instead of all at once.
I am hoping the next installment focuses on a core of main characters, and that the author allows me to see them intimately as Godly people that I want to care about. This is a refreshing read for Christian book readers as there are no pages that cause the reader to cringe from inappropriate language or explicit details of sexuality (not even innuendo). I would hope in future stories the characters will grow as individuals (whether "bad" guys or "good" guys) that provide me with a story I can escape with and enjoy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author Ta' Mara Hascom. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."