Monday, August 13, 2007

Snowdance by Sarita Leone

TITLE: Snowdance
AUTHOR: Sarita Leone
PUBLISHER: Whiskey Creek Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 53k)
GENRE: Mainstream romance
COST: $5.99

Elinor Montoya has lived a long, fruitful life. In the captivity of her snowbound home, she reflects on the paths that have led her to these particular moments, nearly a century of them added up together to sculpt her world.

From the very first chapter of this book, there is a distinct nostalgia that crooks a finger at the reader and beckons them to indulge. The descriptions of the central character’s home and the storm that rages outside are simple yet evocative, painting pictures with words that put me in the middle of that house, in the middle of that storm, watching and wondering over each individual pattern of snowflake falling outside the window. This isn’t a book to read when you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. The heroine is nearly a hundred years old, and the pace of the entire novel reflects both her experience and the simple, unadorned lifestyle she has had her entire life. But it still sucked me in, wrapping me up and making me smile, even when I wasn’t in the mood for it.

Not a whole lot happens in this. It’s a series of flashbacks interspersed with time spent in the present day. The flashbacks aren’t hugely original, either – there’s the obligatory death to deal with, a love at first sight scene – but the first one and actually my favorite is one with Elinor and her cousin Sara when Elinor is 8 years old. They’re contemplating their different lives, and how each is jealous of the other, and all that comes out in this discussion they’re having about how oak trees are made. It’s simple and so real that I finished it completely invested in wherever the story was going to take me after that. So if maybe some of the scenes were a little expected, that was all right. The point was, I wanted to be there by then. And that was enough for me.

I do wish that some of the dialogue wasn’t as stilted as it was. The author’s strengths are in descriptions, not in making her dialogue real. A 4 year-old in this came across as a teenager to me until I was told he was four. Even then, I didn’t quite believe it.

But in spite of this one quibble, I fell for this simple story head over heels. It’s more than a romance. It’s a story of a life. And how love shapes and forms everything that we are.

Readability

8/10 – Mostly clean and evocative, with a nostalgic rhythm that sucked me in

Heroine

8/10 – Dialogue is stiff, but otherwise, I wanted to know this woman even more

Plot

6/10 – The flashback device is awkward in some places, and there’s nothing hugely original about the vignettes the author shares

Entertainment value

8/10 – I completely fell for the melancholy nostalgia in this, due mostly to the quality of writing

World building

9/10 – I felt and saw every snowflake. I knew Elinor’s home as well as she did, I thought.

TOTAL:

39/50

4 comments:

Sarita said...

Thank you for reading Snowdance. I loved writing Elinor's story, and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it.

Thanks for the great review!

Take care,
Sarita Leone

Sarita said...

One thing...would you please remove the "erotic" tag from Snowdance? It just doesn't apply to Elinor's story. It might even make her blush!! :)

Thanks so much!

~Sarita

Book Utopia Mom said...

Stupid tags, I absolutely know it doesn't apply, but it's got that auto-fill-in-feature on the tags, and this is the second time I've been caught out when I wasn't paying 100% attention. I'll change it right now.

Good luck in your writing; this was magical!

Sarita said...

Thanks again for your kind comments. You've really begun my week on a high note!

Take care,
Sarita