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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Romance with a Strong Dose of Humor

Title Annie’s Song
Author Sabra Brown Steinsiek
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1593748094
ISBN-13: 978-1593748098
Price: $16.95 Amazon

Reviewed by Connie Gotsch

‘Annie’s Song’ by Sabra Brown Steinsiek has a typical romance plot. Boy (Kit) knows girl (Annie) since childhood. They’re sort of friends. Boy (Kit) and Girl (Annie), go out with other people. That doesn’t work and they end up friends, lovers, and engaged.

What saves ‘Annie’s Song,’ from unraveling into clich├ęs is the laugh the author has with the throes, trials, triumphs, and tribulations of young love. At 23, Annie Collins has experienced success on the Broadway stage, but because her life has revolved around the theater, she has never had a serious boyfriend.

Deciding she’s ready to give that a try, she experiences the infatuations, tears, and befuddlement's that everyone over the age of 30 has experienced as they try to date. In one hilarious scene, Kit, who becomes her platonic roommate, arrives home just in time to interrupt her romantic moment with the guy she believes is Mr. Right. Who hasn’t been there and witnessed that?

While much of the action of ‘Annie’s Song’ takes place in New York, Sabra Brown Steinsiek mixes in a good bit of Southwestern culture, by giving Annie a native New Mexican mother, and a Hispanic grandmother, who lives in Ireland with Annie’s grandfather.

The result is a joyful blend of foods and customs that both evoke fond memories of family gatherings, and capture the feeling of what it’s like to live in a state where Hispanics, Anglos, and Indians have more or less learned to get along over four centuries.

Steinsiek also adds a touch of Albuquerque popular history. A ghost said to haunt the KiMo, an old theater at 5th and Central downtown, comes to warn Annie of danger. Real street names and locations, both eastern and western, add a further sense of authenticity to the book. Steinsiek’s simple and direct descriptions trigger memories of both locations, to anyone who’s been lucky enough to spend time in Manhattan and New Mexico.

Add to that a few unexpected (and sometimes nasty) events, a slew of Annie’s girl friends and nieces; a doting father, and older sisters, and ‘Annie’s Song’ becomes a celebration for anyone who has come of age with strong roots and powerful wings.

It won’t matter that the reader will guess the outcome of the book long before the end. Steinsiek’s humor and warmth make ‘Annie’s Song’ work anyway.
Connie Gotsch, Imagination on Board
Author of "A Mouth Full of Shell" and "Snap Me a Future"
Featured in "The Complete Writer's Journal"
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