Skip to main content

Review: Those Who Dream by Day, by Linda Cargill

I really struggled with what to write in this review. Actually, I struggled to come up with something positive to say, and came up with: the premise of the novel is promising--a thriller set around the sinking of the Lusitania and the Arabian revolts. While onboard the Lusitania, Dora Benley, a college junior and the daughter of a Pittsburgh tire magnate, encounters a mysterious man who demands that she return something she has apparently stolen. Later, the same man is found in the boiler room, tampering with a fuse. Later, Dora’s fiancée goes missing in the Arabian dessert. The premise is pretty much the only good thing about this novel.

On the surface, the book desperately needs a good proofreader and copyeditor, for grammar and consistency respectively. But all the proofreading and copyediting in the world aren't going to help this book with its bigger flaws. The writing style is descriptive in some parts, but then you’ll have periods of jerky movements where you feel as though something got cut out. The whole book actually feels like a first draft, with inconsistencies in detail throughout.

The characters are wooden, and the dialogue is stilted and a little anachonistic (did they really say things like, "yuck!" in 1919?). There were many times when something completely unlikely would happen—for example, a man would end up knifed in his back, and next thing you know, he’s up and walking like normal! Um, don’t people normally die or end up otherwise incapacitated if that happened? Then, there was this whole confusing scene on the Lusitania where the mysterious stranger performs something out of Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, without the sex. Then, when Dora’s in captivity, in a cabin where apparently no one can hear her yell for help, she can hear (perfectly) the conversations of people walking past. Seriously, it was so bad I was laughing. And, the author's obsession with her alma mater was a little amateur and annoying.

Dora’s relationship with Edward Ware is completely forced and awkward, and seemed to be based entirely on sex (I’m sorry, getting engaged after knowing someone for only two days? Who does that?). Ditto on her relationship with Michael. For a girl who’s supposedly so intelligent, Dora seems to be a little bit dumb. The villain was a little dumb, too: when Michael comes to rescue Dora, he does so using a set of keys that the bad guy has conveniently left on the table. Earlier, the bad guy, chasing Dora and shooting at her with a gun, yells, “stop! Come back here!” Yeah, if someone with a gun was chasing me, the first thing I’d do is go back to them. In summary, then, this boook had an intriguing premise, but the writing wasn’t good enough to keep me reading past the first 150 pages or so. I used to work as an intern at a literary agency, and I would reject tons of manuscipts of books like this. I'm guessing that there's a fairly good reason for why this novel is self-published. Will be published in January.


Serena said…
Sounds like a tough read. I really hate when the hero or heroine is dumb and they are supposed to be smart...that's annoying. Editing...why is it being published...that would be so embarrassing to have that out there with my name on it.
Amanda said…
O that sucks! It sounds like such an interesting premise too.
Anonymous said…
Kudos to you for making it through the book, it certainly sounds like a tough one. Like Amanda said, it sounds like an interesting premise, and thanks for being honest.
Kristen M. said…
I feel like there are more new books lately that are in need of good editors. Of course, I would venture that the self-published novel might not have seen a professional editor at all.
Anna Claire said…
I once saw a glaring grammatical error on a jacket flap of a book I was thinking about getting, and just put it back. There are too many good books out there to waste time reading one that's sloppy. Thanks, Katherine, for doing the hard work so the rest of us won't have to!
Unknown said…
Smooth and aerial thomas sabo the links of london fair lends an air of breeding thomas sabo charm sale to the wearer cheap thomas sabo charms and accept discount thomas sabo charms been a apparel thomas sabo charm clearance basal for thomas sabo charms australia centuries, and a alliance accoutrements tradition. thomas sabo clearance sale However, one can achieve it somewhat added chichi and admirable by giving it a hardly avant-garde aberration by interspacing on gold wire or amphibian on adapted thomas sabo australia constructed bond giving a millennium look. Currently Amphibian Chaplet are a actual "hot" actualization account thomas sabo jewellery for their contemporary and thomas sabo charms admirable looks accessible in a thomas sabo charm club array of styles, sizes and colors to amaze the eye.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is an old dotard, her third locks her up in the house for days and won't let her out; and the last is a fop who a…

Review: This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart

Pages: 254Original date of publication: 1964My edition: 1964 (William Morrow)Why I decided to read: it was 90 degrees outside at the time and I decided it was time to read another book by a favorite authorHow I acquired my copy: from Susanna Kearsley, December 2009Sometimes, whether or not I decide to read a book depends on the weather. Mary Stewart’s books are best read on either very hot or very cold days; and since it was 90 degrees out one weekend a couple of weeks ago, I decided that this one would be perfect. And it was.This Rough Magic takes its title from The Tempest, a play from which this novel takes off. Lucy Waring is a struggling actress who comes to visit her sister on Corfu. One of her neighbors is a renowned actor who’s taken a bit of a sabbatical and his son, a musician with whom Lucy comes to blows at first. This Rough Magic is vintage Mary Stewart, with a murder or two, a mystery, romance, suspense, and lots of magic thrown in. Lucy is your typical Mary Stewart hero…

Review: Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith

Pages: 294
Original date of publication: 1963
My edition: 2010 (Harper Perennial)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, Phoenix, January 2011

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve read it, oh, half a dozen times, so I was interested to see how Joy in the Morning would compare.

Set in the late 1920s, Joy in the Morning begins when Annie, aged 18, comes to a small Midwestern college town where her fiancée, Carl, is in law school. The novel opens with their marriage in the county courthouse, and follows the couple through their first year or so of marriage. It’s a struggle, because Carl and Annie are basically children themselves, for all the ways in which Carl tries to appear more adult-like.

Annie is endearing; she’s ignorant but a voracious reader, reading everything from Babbitt to War and Peace. Betty Smith’s novels are pretty autobiographical; Joy in the Morning is (unofficially) a kind of sequel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—cert…