First Line: Lissy woke and turned her head to look at the clock; it was ten to five in the morning.
Two years have gone by since the death of Lissy's abusive husband, and she finally realizes that her life is her own again. She decides to sell her London townhouse and buy her dream home in Devon. She finds her house. It's for sale, and she buys it, little knowing that heartache hasn't entirely disappeared from her life, but ready to make her new home livable and to look to the future.
If I'd done a bit of research on the publishing house before requesting this book, chances are that I would not have read this little self-published volume. It's only when I began to read that I wondered what I'd gotten myself into and began to investigate.
First and foremost I want to say that this is a lovely story, and it's what convinced me to read Simon's Fel in the first place. Being free of an abusive relationship, leaving the city, finding a derelict thatched cottage to renovate in a lovely village, doing the things one loves, and having a chance for a fresh start-- this all has the makings of an excellent, if perhaps predictable, story.
What lets the story down is its execution. There's almost no dialogue. Most of the story is told to us. The characters are static and never really come to life. There are acres of opportunities for character development as well as for beautiful description-- of the village, of the cottage Lissy renovates, and of the business she starts-- but these are never realized in the bare bones style that moves from Point A (Lissy's miserable) to Point B (Happily Ever After).
It does not please me to say this because I know this book is someone's baby and it is loved. But not everything I have to say is negative. I've already mentioned that the story is what convinced me to read this book. I'm not known for finishing books that I don't like, so that means something made me keep reading till the very last page. What was it? That very same story that enticed me at the beginning. Despite the logical part of my brain adding up writing faults, I did come to care about Lissy, and I wanted to see what happened to her.
There are many people who can write beautifully, but they have nothing to say. The mechanics of writing can be learned. What this author already has is the ability to create a story that people will want to read. I look forward to the day when the writing style is an equal partner.
Simon's Fel by P.R. Page
Matador © 2014
eBook, 92 pages
Contemporary Fiction, Standalone
Source: Net Galley