Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Review of Violet Dawn

I really don't like reviews much. They're such downers in general. A reviewer can say basically good things about my book and point out one bad thing--and it's the bad line that'll stick with me most. I know I'm not alone in this; I think it's a universal author thing.

Truth is--reviews are so subjective. They reflect one person's opinion, that's all. Some will agree with that person; some won't. Or they may agree with certain points but not others. Bottom line, I think in every novel there's going to be strengths and weaknesses. I just don't want to have any weaknesses in mine. They're all supposed to be perfect, dontcha know.

In my next life.

Anyway, my publicist alerted me to this review. I pass it on to you because I found it interesting, coming from the perspective of a nonChristian. [Besides, it's positive, and that ain't a bad thing either.] It came from www.who-dunnit.com/reviews, and was written by Alan Paul Curtis. I thank Mr. Curtis for taking the time to read and review Violet Dawn, particularly since he doesn't usually chose to read Christian novels.

Violet Dawn is the first book of the Kanner Lake series by Brandilyn Collins. Ms. Collins has also written at least three other series – Hidden Faces, Bradleyville, and Chelsea Adams books. Brandilyn Collins has chosen to write for Zondervan - the Christian division of Harper Collins - due to a sudden release from a debilitating case of Lyme disease. She attributes disappearance of the symptoms to prayer and God's power. Whatever beliefs you have in any power stronger than human, and if you are spiritual rather than Christian, you may ignore her references to Christianity. Ms. Collins still writes a scary, beautiful book, with characters and plot twists to enthrall – and you can pass over the minor references to God if you prefer. Ms. Collins is a very talented lady.

At the beginning of Violet Dawn, we're introduced to Paige Williams, who has moved to Kanner Lake in Idaho from a mysterious past – a past she wishes to remain undiscovered. Unable to sleep, she goes out to her deck in the wee hours to her hot tub, and after climbing in, discovers she has company – the dead body of a famous woman.

Then we meet Bailey Truitt, owner of the Java Joint and an incapacitated husband. Bailey is struggling to meet her bills with the increased responsibility of additional medication for her husband. And we're also introduced to Vince Edwards, chief of police for the area who lost a son just a year ago in Iraq. Leslie Brymes is a young journalist – a reporter for the Kanner Lake Times, eager to find a story that will give her a break. Then there's a man called Black Mamba – evidently out to blame Paige for the murder of the actress he himself has killed – among others. Finally we're taken back in time to Rachel Brandt – who lives with an abusive mother constantly high on drugs with a series of unspeakable live-in boyfriends.

All these people are important to the story, and come together in the most surprising twist near the end. Each has a definite personality, which Ms. Collins aptly defines.

As I've already mentioned, I don't normally care to write reviews for Christian publications. Having once been Christian myself, and gone on to what I believe is something better, I do not want to encourage anyone to change their beliefs regardless of what they happen to be. Brandilyn Collins is an outstanding author who has chosen to believe in a personal God, and I applaud her for her choice – some individuals are meant for certain beliefs and others not. But whatever your chosen spiritual line, this is an author you shouldn't ignore. Disregard Ms. Collins references to the God power if that turns you off, but do read Violet Dawn. It's a fine murder mystery.


Pamela S. Meyers said...

The reviewer obviously has a "thing" against God and yet he couldn't take away what was so evident--your powerful story and your God-given ability to write the story. I wonder why he thinks you "chose" to write for Zondervan because of your healing from Lyme? Perhaps this is God's way of drawing the prodigal home. Getting him to read and review other Christian novels. Sounds like he'll be back for more of yours Brandilyn! God does work in mysterious ways.


Karen Eve said...

God can and will use anyone, even someone who is obviously pretty ticked with Him. It's a great review though, and obviously the man has excellent tastes.

Kristy Dykes said...

You set me up.

"I really don't like reviews much. They're such downers in general. A reviewer can say basically good things about my book and point out one bad thing--and it's the bad line that'll stick with me most."

I thought the review was going to be bad, and I was thinking, Thanks, Brandilyn, for posting a bad review, because it shows you're truly trying to teach us about the writing life.

Then I read the review.

It's wonderful!

Couldn't be better.

So complimentary of your prowess as a writer.


--Kristy, who's doing somersaults for Brandilyn

eileen said...

Kudos to you, O Scary One, for it's a great review. Just leaves me very sad for the reviewer. I suggest we plot and pray for him!

Unknown said...

A friend of mine found this review so interesting she read it to me over the phone. Very interesting indeed!

Jason said...

He wasn't trying to show his prejudice about Christianity, now was he? That just makes the good review all the better, because he sees past all that "God" stuff to a good story and great characters.

Unknown said...

Great review! And I feel sorry for our dear reviewer. He needs our prayers. Keep writing, girl! It's people like this reviewer you're trying to reach.

D. Gudger said...

This reviewers attempts to "ignore" God, really show that God's reality gripped his heart through reading Violet Dawn. Did he get an ARC b/c he's a reviewer for the who-dunnit.com reviews? This review speaks volumes about how important it is for Christian fiction to get into the hands of non-Christians! It also sets the standard for those of us who desire to write, to be as excellent as we can to go above and beyond the standards of the world. People WILL take notice and Jesus Christ WILL be glorified! BC, you are truly a roll model for the rest of us!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

I guess I'm destined to be the fly in the ointment. I thought he said wonderful things about your writing, Brandilyn, but I would have had a disappointing reaction to his ability to look past the God references.

So I want to know, how did you react to those lines in the review?


Anonymous said...

Kudos to BC for writing such an intriguing novel that this guy kept reading in spite of her Christian references. May we all pray for Alan Paul Curtis that he might find the Truth. And may we all write about the Truth in such a way to captivate our readers.

~michelle pendergrass said...

God works in such delightful ways. :)

I'm reading the review thinking, this guy is going to pick up other books. God is going to use Brandilyn to get to this guy.

What I like most is the constant reference to "overlooking" the God stuff. I like it because it seems to me that a lot of people have experienced dibiliating legalism in their past and are bitter and angry with God. If someone can overlook the God references and instead see the reflection of Christ--that is HUGE and God bless you B- you've just made someone who's mad at God overlook references and words and nuances and painted on religion and you've let him stare straight into the face of the Almighty's grace and love. ((((HUGS))))

Lynette Sowell said...

Awesome review. Which is why someone can't argue with solid writing. :) It's also refreshing to see a reviewer not allowing their own views to distort their perception of the story.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

The comment that stuck with me, beyond the kudos fro your writing, was "if you are spiritual rather than Christian" HUH? Christians aren't spiritual?

Ane shakes her head, wondering when she got off the bus ... and wanders off, muttering to herself.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I've been at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conference, so I missed this post!

That's a great review Brandilyn! I aspire to get such reviews from non-christians! God got a hold on his heart, no matter what he says!

You go girl! Your job is to catch 'em, God's job is to clean 'em!