I wanted this story to be good. I wanted it to. But…
This is historical novel that claims to follow a young girl from the seedy and corrupt life of Five Points, New York, as she journeys west on the Orphan Train in the late 1800s. And instead I found Anne of Green Gables meets Fifty Shades of Grey.
In the beginning of the novel, I immediately had to choose whether I was reading this book for its function as a story or for the quality of writing. It clearly did not have both. Ms. Dewey has a feel for story and its grand scope, and even its romanticism, but the writing lacked consistency, flow, and an appropriate voice. So I chose to read for story – but even there I felt betrayed by the author. Full to the brim with historical trivia (that needed a heavy dose of fact-checking), I did not get to know “Tabitha” well-enough before I had to “forget” her. I was swallowed up by all the telling, not showing, and dismayed with the graphic and disturbing sexuality. This could have been a pretty good story – a nice and well-spent tale – without the sudden and jarring turn into the ultra-sleazy. There is a way to cover the dark-side of life without giving every single twisted detail.
This book needs more proofreading, content and copyediting, and polishing. And it needs to be decided whether this is an expository or a narrative piece. While the narrators’ voices are easy enough for a young reader to follow, this book was definitely too adult – too poorly edited – for me.
I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review to Amazon and Goodreads. Please look for my review there as well.
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