Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift

Book:  The Lady's Slipper

Author:  Deborah  Swift

Grade:  B+

Recommended To:  Anyone who loves a good story with a side of history.

I won this book from GoodReads.com in a giveaway.  This book is by a new author, Deborah Swift, and you can find her blog here and her GoodReads page here.

I am so excited to be reviewing a new author that shows such promise.  This is a first for this blog because I usually read books by authors that I've read before and already know that I love.  Or, I read new authors and I'm so totally unimpressed that I have to write bad reviews.  Sorry, Steve Barry

This book was billed as historical fiction, but I think that was probably a misnomer.  The book was set in the mid 1600s in England and some of the characters were Quakers, but all of the characters were fictional and of course so were the events they experienced.  To me, this makes the billing of historical fiction incorrect, but, I thought this was an excellent story and I am looking forward to reading more from this new author.

Here is what I liked: 

This story really kept me guessing.  Sometimes books can be predictable and tend to fall along the same moldy old plot lines, but this book was only slightly predictable and I really liked that the author didn't try to hard to create suspense. Instead Swift let her words and the story work FOR her instead of against her.  I'm so impressed that she deployed this strategy with her first work and to me this means that if Swift has more stories in mind, that they will all be successful.

The book was also very well written.  I have a huge beef with authors that don't vary their sentence structure, or use repetitive patterns, or heaven forbid incorrectly use apostrophes. This book felt well crafted.  I could tell that the author wasn't rushed to finish this book, but that it was a true labor of love.  Swift should be proud of her writing abilities. 

Here is what I didn't like:

The love story between Richard and Alice was so forced.  I was rolling my eyes over this.  There was no real backstory for them falling in love (in fact, they hated each other for a lot of the book!) - Alice has just been through major trauma, was she really ready to fall in love with Richard?  I doubt it.  I think I would have liked the progression better if they had just become friends and then progressed to love once they got to the New World.  It would have been far more believable and would have fit with their character development far better than the sudden rush to a relationship.

I think including a "mandatory" love story is a trap that some authors fall into, but, sometimes I just want to read about life as it would actually happen instead of how we all wish life would turn out.

I gave this book a B+, I would never have thought that this was Swift's first novel and I sincerely hope that she doesn't allow her writing to fail in the face of publishing demands and deadlines. Swift offers a fresh and entertaining voice in a sometimes tired arena.  I thought her book was extremely well written and had enough twists and turns to keep me very interested. I look forward to whatever else this author can dream up. 

Happy Reading!!

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