Review: Mourning Meadow by Larion Wills

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mourning Meadow by Larion Wills (cover)

Mourning Meadow

by Larion Wills

Swimming Kangaroo Books, 2007
Paperback, 278 pages
ISBN 1934041165 (Amazon US)
9781934041161 (BookRabbit UK)

Kari is a woman with a secret and a mansion on a large estate. Steve is a man with a secret and a desire to develop mansions on large estates. Oops, that might be his secret.

This may be trying to be a paranormal romance. Ghosts get mentioned from time to time, but they don't add anything to the story.

The storyline: Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, someone tries to kill girl, they run around for a while trying to work out who and why, this is resolved, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.

Steve persuades Caroleigh, Kari's sister, to invite him to Mourning Meadow. They're accompanied by Caroleigh's friends Evelyn and Edward (who's been watching too many bad British TV shows). Yes, there are a lot of names in that.

Here, Steve meets the Kari of the strange behaviour, they fall in love at almost first sight and there goes the opportunity for unresolved sexual tension. Now I haven't read many romances, but in those I have, and those where romance is a subplot, sexual tension adds to the overall tension and conflict, and we know this is what keeps the reader turning the pages. Now having them pair up early on might work sometimes. It might even have worked in this book, had there been some other source of tension or conflict.

All right, someone is apparently trying to kill Kari, but does this produce tension? You'd think so, but no. At one point when I returned to the book after putting it down, I accidentally skipped two pages. After I'd read a few more paragraphs, one of the characters made a reference to a car accident. What accident? I turned back a page and found they'd all been involved in an accident involving non-working brakes and running off the road. Surely people will act differently after they've just been in a car crash? Yet it is like this throughout the whole book--they just continue on like normal whatever happens.

Finally, we get to the explanation of who is trying to kill Kari, and why, and this involves pages of backstory describing the relationships between various people who never appear in the book, most of them being dead, and who, when they have been mentioned, are often referred to by different names, so the whole thing becomes difficult to follow. If all this family history is so important, it needed to be fed in smaller chunks throughout the books.

Then after this, is the resolution of the romance storyline, even though this was apparently resolved in the first few chapters, but that's not a problem. Just throw in a few issues for them at the end.

Did I mention the writing? From the second chapter:

"I thought you said your grandfather is dead," Evelyn said.
"He is," Caroleigh answered.
"Quite," Edward said with a cocked brow.
Puzzled enough to stop her scowl of annoyance Evelyn asked, "Then how did he lock it?"
"He didn't," Caroleigh answered. "Kari did for some obscure reason.

"Mourning Meadow" is easy to read, except for trying to keep all the names straight. It's a good book for if you happen to be working a stall at a living history event, because it's easy to return to the story if you get interrupted repeatedly. You can even skip a page or two, and not notice.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by xenith

3 comments; 2 subscribers

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 / 01:18:52
To win the review copy of "Mourning Meadow", answer this question in comments:

If you 'acquired' a mansion and a large estate, what would you develop them into?

Competition open to AUS/NZ only, and closes on 10th December 2009 (midnight pacific time).
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 / 05:23:57
I guess we need to build up our AUS/NZ readership.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008 / 14:40:20
Don't look at me

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