Letting Go, by Maria Thompson Corley, Reviewed.

Letting Go

The characters in this lengthy romance lead full and interesting lives. They’re an ethnically diverse group with a couple of the lead protagonists being West Indian. The narrative is set largely in New York and Canada and there are cultural references to these two countries that mean little to a UK reader who’s never visited those lands, but that’s not at all unusual.

It took me a long time to read this book, partly because I was engaged for much of the time in editing my own novel and used this romance as a way of leaving that intense world for a while.

I expected some different voices, but discovered only that the characters were described physically: I found little in the way of cultural, ethnic or socially historical reference to their backgrounds. Though the pervading air of ‘being different’ did seep through the text.

For me, engaging with characters is crucial to my enjoyment of a novel. In this work, though it’s well written and has an underlying good story, I was unable to engage with any of the people in its pages. I can’t fully explain why that should be the case; except that I was unable to feel with them, I was not involved.

There’s a good deal here for New Yorkers, for those in education and for those who dwell in the world of music.

The author has a lot to offer. I wondered if a more ruthless edit, some cutting of what seemed to me unnecessary description, might help the pace. It’s a long novel and would lose little by such reduction.

I’m sure many readers will thoroughly enjoy this book. I’m a little saddened I’m not one of them.

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