Monday, May 12, 2014

Review of 'A bridge to cross' by Edward R Hackemer

A review copy was provided by the author in return for an honest review. 
I recently read and reviewed ‘In A Cream Packard’ by the same author. In spite of my lengthy criticism of that novel, the author did not back down, instead requesting reviews of two other books that he wrote. Few authors take criticism well, and I truly appreciate Edward in this regard.
A bridge to cross’ has stirred my interest for several reasons. To start with, I was very curious to see how Edward’s writing has evolved. I was not disappointed.
The pros:
The expression is very pleasant, polished and highly educated; characteristics that are magnets to me when it comes to picking my readings.
I paid particular attention to the way the author depicted the late 1920s. A wonderful sense of authenticity was present all along. Few authors have the ability to capture time and place in their novels, and I must say that Edward masters it beautifully. Just like with my previous read, I could picture this novel successfully turned into a black and white movie (if this were possible nowadays).
I also appreciated the author’s thoughtful decision to add notes and a glossary of the 1920s slang at the end of the book.
The cons:
I feel I must repeat a comment made in my review of ‘In A Cream Packard.’ Although beautiful, the depiction of things and places is excessive, providing details that are often unnecessary and irrelevant. Edward may argue that they contribute to the sense of authenticity, but they are, in my view, unnecessarily elaborate. A good book is one that draws the reader in; one in which the author’s presence is barely noticeable, if at all. A writer’s first rule is ‘Show, don’t tell.’ This technique enables the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses and feelings rather than through the author's exposition, summarization, and description. Ernest Hemingway has depicted it as ‘the Iceberg Theory,’ from which I quote what I believe to be the relevant phrase: ‘The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.’ It speaks for itself.
A relevant example of the author’s departure from the above theory in ‘A bridge to cross’ is his description of the main characters. He tells the reader all about them in a few condensed paragraphs at the beginning of the book. I was disappointed to read all that was to be known about the characters, instead of seeing them fleshed out throughout the book. It felt as if there was nothing to discover or to explore about them after that.
Although this novel has its shortcomings and fails to send my heart into an excited throb, it was a pleasant and relaxed read that I would certainly recommend to every lover of the 1920’s era, the dynamism of which is beautifully depicted therein. A great read sprinkled with some surprises, more energetic than ‘In a Cream Packard’, more daring too as far as romanticism and intimate scenes are concerned. 

Edward’s novel can be purchased on Amazon in both hard copy and Ebook format. Click HERE to access the purchase link.

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