Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review - The First Ten Pages - Return To Me by Carolyn Menke

As a reader, if my interest isn't stirred in the first ten pages of a book, it's most likely I won't take the time to read the rest of the story. First impressions do matter...

So, what exactly is the point of a ten page review? Obviously, it's not the story itself, the effectiveness of the plot development, the quality of character development, or the overall talent of the author. What I'm reviewing is the author's ability to draw me into their story in just a few pages. Can they give me a sense of place and time, set the tone of the story, make me care about their protagonist, and give me an impelling reason to keep reading. In today's competitive market, an author only gets a few pages to make all that happen for a reader. The rating reflects my view on those elements. It doesn't reflect on the whole book, since I haven't read the entire story. So I encourage those who read these reviews to keep that in mind and to peruse other whole-book reviews to help make your buying decisions.

Title: Return To Me
Author: Carolyn Menke
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Review Rating: **** Intrigued - Taking This Home

Review Comments: 
Writers of historical fiction often start with a long, drawn-out description of place and time that reads more like an encyclopedia than a story. As a reader, I get very antsy if this goes too long without an interesting event or character that gives me reason to stay in the past and meander through the setting. In Return To Me, the author mixes the setting with characters who have different goals, motivations, and roadblocks. The protagonists, who are strangers at this point, make strong, compelling eye contact, but are prevented from meeting. Author Carolyn Menke managed to make that scene a cliffhanger for me. Characters were well defined in just a few pages. So much so, I really wanted to follow these people as time and circumstance tore them apart and sent them in different directions. Conflict, motivation, characterization, and action were all skillfully presented in the first ten pages!

Quote from Book:

~ The woman’s voice was steady and strong. “This lighter belonged to—” 

“Yes. I know,” Sadie said. 

“You remember?” 

Sadie dipped her head and covered her mouth with quivering fingers. “Not a day goes by that I don’t think of it…” ~

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