I recently finished a novel that was truly painful. In respect to the author, I’m not going to name it… but it was NOT an enjoyable read.
All the other novels I have lined up were screaming “Try me! I’ll be better, I promise.” And I was pretty sure that ANY of them I picked would have scaled higher on the enjoyment factor.
Was it written poorly?
I don’t think so. You see, I purchased this book because it was by one of my favorite authors. In fact, this is someone I’ve reviewed and given five stars to, and if you hang here you know I don’t give away five stars all that freely.
I almost gave it up on this story five times, but I continued reading hoping that the author that I’d fallen in love with would shine through.
It didn’t happen.
What didn’t I like?
Well, I think it was a lot of things. This was a western. I detest westerns, but I’d read one last year that I really enjoyed, so I figured my favorite author could pull it off, too.
The main character also had an annoying name. “Jazzy”. Yeah, I’m serious. Don’t you want to smack her upside the head already? I hoped my favorite author could overcome the annoying name.
Nope, didn’t happen.
In the end, I forced myself to finish. Probably because I purchased the book and wanted to get my money’s worth. Probably because I was waiting for some kind of a Sixth Sense ending that would make it all worth my time.
In the end, though, something about the background came out that made me sympathize with Jazzy. Interestingly enough, I suddenly connected. Unfortunately, it was in the last couple of pages… thousands of words too late.
I’m wondering that if I had known this little tidbit of information in the beginning of the story, if the necessary connection between reader and character would have happened… that maybe, just maybe, I would have cared enough about her that I would have been worried when the stagecoach got overrun by bandits. I would have worried when the gun was pointed in her face. I would have cared if Mr. Perfect saved her scrawny butt…
The problem is that I suddenly cared to late, and it did not fix the rest of a very uninteresting read to me.
Have I given up on this favored author? I don’t think so, but I will be much more leery of picking up another title of hers. It’s a shame.
What did I learn?
I try to take away something from every novel I read. In this case, I will remember that if there is a secret or something in a character’s past that may help reader connection, I will push that little tidbit up front. Late revelations are just that. Late. In this case, too late for me.