Monday, April 3, 2017

The BarrowfieldsThe Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The more I read these types of books, the more I discover that dysfunctional family sagas are not my cup of tea. Let's face this, "debut" author sometimes tend to overuse this tope to create a barebones plot outline.

I wish that I could say that I've found an exception to the rule, but this one is unfortunately not what I was hoping it was. We follow Henry, a child of two ambitious artists that live in a dark and ghostly mansion at the top of the hill, that's rumored to be haunted because of the previous owners mysterious deaths. It seems that his father is a depressive alcoholic who neglects everything and everyone around him for his sacred "writing" which he considers his whole life. His mother has put up with this behavior for years, and has not ben a comforting mother figure to neither him nor her daughter Threnody. Henry seems to take the mother and father role in her life. The setting is a small rural town in Northern Appalachia, where both the father and son want to escape but ultimately their town calls them back (see the repetitive patterns yet?)

As for the writing, where is the editor or was there any editing work done on this? You could not believe the number of "and"s and repetitive phrases that were repeated in the same sentence/paragraph. Lots of the word choice and sentence structure felt very discombobulated to the point that I felt frustrated with it. I just thought that this needs a lot more work writing-wise. One might say: "But readers like me should maybe move past that since after all he is a debut author, so cut him some slack right?" (I have greater expectations, and also if the writing sucks, it's ruins everything so...)

I was also disappointed in the way that the adoption process was handled. There is a certain character who is in a relationship with our MC and then of course something about her biological parents is revealed and our MC is the fire to ever notice the answer. I just thought that whole section wasn't well thought-out and unrealistic in terms of legal stipulations and then how the information was even discovered.

One of the only things that I genuinely enjoyed where the flashbacks to Henry and Threnody's sibling relationship when they were children. He used to read her books and make up stories and sing to her every night before bed, which I thought was really sweet and showed a caring side in his otherwise unlikeable nature. That point in time was absolutely precious to watch unravel, although I can't say the rest for the same of the book.

**Thanks to bloggingforbooks and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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