Tuesday, 19 May 2015

THE WIDOW'S TALE by Paula C Moss

3 out of 5 stars

Historical (romantic) drama

On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon US HERE

Reviewed by me for Rosie Amber's Book Review Team 

The Widow's Tale tells the story of wild, spirited Charlotte Hart, a seventeen year old widow living in the time of the English Civil War.  Land she sees as rightfully hers has fallen into the hands of her late husband's family.  Charlotte and her own family become embroiled in the crossfire between Royalists and Parliamentarians, especially officer Nate Wetherall.
The three stars I've given this book represent the fact that the author has clearly has much love for and knows her subject; I am not very knowledgeable about this period but most of the historical and domestic detail seems accurate, with details woven in subtly - all good.  There is enough description about the landscape, etc, to set the scene, but not too much, and most of it is well done - another big tick.  Many of the characters speak in a rural Yorkshire accent and this is convincing, too.

It's never easy to review negatively, but, alas, I did struggle a bit with this book.  Rather than a piece of historical drama about the clash between the two sides and the effects on the family, which is what I was expecting, much of it has the atmosphere of a jaunty, light romance.  (Note: since I wrote this review the author has altered the blurb)  If this is what the author intends it to be, that's fine, but the Amazon blurb does not reflect this.  Aside from it needing a bit of tightening up generally, there are editing problems: repeated use of the adjective 'snarky', for instance, which did not make its appearance in the English language until the early 20th century, and the term 'spooning', in its modern sense (ie, a physical position involving two people), which originated in the 1850s.  The other main downside is the punctuation.  There are errors all the way through: numerous missing and ill-placed commas, random semicolons and capital letters inserted here and there, missing question marks.  If the author has paid for a proofreading service she should ask for her money back.

I regret not being able to be more encouraging, but I hope that the author will take these comments as constructive, and bear them in mind for future works so that she may use her descriptive and dialogue capabilities and knowledge of her subject to greater effect.


  1. Thoughtful, well-balanced and fair review, Terry.

    1. Thanks. Never easy pointing out defects, but - well, I know you agree with me about reviewing honestly!

  2. Good job, and you do the hard part (I say this as someone who handed out many a negative review not to mention failing grade in the last 20 years or so) with the best of intentions, Terry. You're trying to help indie authors improve their work, which can only lift them, and every other indie author, up. And we all want that. So good for you! Hope this writer sees the benefit in what you're saying.

    1. Thanks, Cindy - it's not easy, is it? Hey, it's a debut novel, we all make mistakes - the first three I published could do with a rewrite, too, I think! I do consider reviews to be mainly for the reader, though, and think that when you review for a book blog like Rosie's, which is all about introducing readers to new books, you have a responsibility to it to do so in a balanced but honest way. Doesn't do Rosie or the author any good if I say "oh, it's fab" when it's not!