You can find the other stops on the tour here
Other books I’ve reviewed by A.M. Heath:
“Can a wrong number bring true love or only heartache?
Ashlyn Conner’s life is spiraling out of control. She’s already lost her father, and now that her mom is battling thyroid cancer, she fears being orphaned at fifteen. When a friendly stranger texts the wrong number, Ashlyn finds a confidant she didn’t realize she needed. The more Ashlyn gets to know Chris Knowles, the more she’s convinced he could be the caring husband and loving father the Conner women so desperately need.
If only she’d been honest and hadn’t made him believe he was texting her mother, Danielle.
When the truth comes out, will she lose her friendship with Chris and damage her relationship with her mother? Or can God make something beautiful out of her lie?
Told through text messages and Ashlyn’s journal entries, The Accident is a heartwarming, family-centered story.”
I received a copy of The Accident from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.
If I could use one word to describe this novella, it would be adorable. I mean seriously, this is so cute!
1. The characters. This novella is a mere 105 pages and fitting any kind of meaningful character building in there is extremely challenging. However, Heath did it brilliantly. Each character is explored through at least one facet of their psyche: Ashlyn with her insecurity, Danielle with her uncertainty, and Chris with his faith in God. To make any good character stick, this is the perfect technique. I’ll get into this a little later, but to briefly explain: this is an epistolary novella meaning instead of being writing from POV’s in the traditional manner, it’s written in the form of letters (or in this, more modern take, in text messages and journal entries). Basically, through written, outward means instead of more inward POV means. The point is, we get to know the characters based on what they say and how they say it. We have no access to their direct actions (as told by a narrator or otherwise) and we have no access to their thought process. This introduces a really interesting element into the character building and their interactions.
“When you feel justified in your anger is when you have the hardest time letting it go. … Her actions deserve punishment, but not your wrath. Not your silent treatment.”
2. The plot. Somehow, within the span of 105 pages, Heath manages to fit in both a macro and micro plot line (the love story and the smaller interactions that take place throughout). They worked really well and kept me reading a at a nice pace. Without getting into spoilery territory, I’ll just say that there’s always constant tension that is perfectly applied.
“Can a wrong number bring true love or only heartbreak?”
3. The romance. Referring back to what I said in my intro, this is by far the cutest aspect. The whole romance is based on Ashlyn lying to Chris when she was first texting him and pretending she was her mother which is a new type of romance planting that I’ve never come across. That whole pretense made for such an interesting romantic development between Chris and Danielle (once she was actually the one texting him). It turns into this great slow burn romance that is so sweet.
“I’ve seen the way those two look at each other over my head. Chris practically watched Momma half as much as he watched the game last night, and I know how much he loves his hockey.”
4. The format. Getting back to what I was talking about in the character section. Being an epistolary novella, this work provides some interesting perspectives and forced me, as the reader, into a new role. Heath does a great job with the texting format and how it works into real life texting. For example, she includes time stamps for the texts and during difficult conversations or when a large chunk of text is sent, there are pauses in the time between replies (5:17pm to 5:20pm instead of 5:17pm to 5:18pm). These little details made all the difference to me. I did find, from time to time, however, that Heath slipped back into the her more traditional writing style for a few lines without properly blending it into the ‘scene.’ Small instances but they happened just enough to give me a jolt. That being said, I want to take just a moment to talk about the POV’s (or, perceived POV’s). Heath does such a nice job differentiating voices for different situations. For example, in the beginning, Ashlyn is pretending to be her mom until she genuinely gets into conversation with Chris and that’s shown in the cadence of the text messages. We get to see her true voice in her journal entries and it was so interesting to see a character try to mask their own voice and only slightly succeed because of their own unconscious motivations. Can you tell I love the mechanics of epistolary novels?
“I feel so stuck. So … stranded in the fog. I can’t see or feel. I’m just there. And I’m all alone.”
The Final Verdict:
A sweet, thoughtful take on a different kind of romantic beginning with an interesting structural framework.
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