A romance in film

Pride’s Children by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

The first thing you notice about this book is its length. In one sense this is good because you are given the time for a relationship to develop naturally. The problem is you have to develop significantly more memorable and distinguishable scenes or they all merge together and your reader loses interest. I think this book is a bit of a mixture in that sense.

The opening scene is very direct, showing the contrasting personalities of Andrew and Kary being interviewed for a talk show. Andrew O’Connell is the extravagant, showy film star turned musician, there to promote his film and flirt with the presenter. Kary is the writer, nervous and unsure she has shunned the limelight for years. The presenter is interested in her critical acclaim and her tenacity in dealing with a physically debilitating condition. This contrast further emphasizes the shallowness of Andrew’s fame and the value of true achievement.

Both Andrew and Kary undergo a crisis which brings them together. For Kary, it is an intruder in her house and for Andrew, a young fan getting into his trailer. Kary’s almost obsessional interest in Andrew’s career after the interview prompts her to offer him sanctuary when he contacts her. Although she is astute enough to keep her feelings guarded and under control when in his presence.

Bianca is in her late twenties and is Andrew’s co-star. Her goals, motivation, drive, and ambition will not change throughout the novel and in this, she provides a contrast to Andrew’s journey. Events for him bring change, for her they are obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of her career.

Most of the novel is written in the third person with the characters inner monologue in italics and in the first person. This can be jarring for the reader, especially when it is only a couple of words in the middle of a paragraph. I have never seen this done by any other author and I think I would have stuck to the third person throughout. You could use signifiers such as Kary thought.

When Kary goes to see Andrew’s film Roland there is a lengthy description of the action which appears to do nothing to move the plot forward. The passages from Kary’s book shows that she is writing, but do we need to know the detail? There could be an argument that what Kary is writing mirrors what she is feeling, but I’m not sure. This level of detail can slow down the action for the reader and may become a reason for not finishing a long book.

There appears to be some problems with punctuation at the beginning of the book with sentences stopping dead or starting with and. Equally, there are some odd choices of words – fictive (imaginary), atavistic (reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor), sybaritic (characterized by loving of luxury or sensuous pleasure). I do not mind expanding my vocabulary, but this appears forced when a simpler word would have sufficed.

The ending is complete yet still leaves room for another book, should the author wish to continue Kary and Andrew’s journey. A movie making background gives it a little more distinction compared to an ordinary romance and the lead characters are warm, vulnerable and easy to relate to. Overall this is not a bad work of general fiction.

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