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Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Eileen Granfors Novel Based on Tale of Two Cities

Title: Sydney's Story
By Eileen Granfors
Historical fiction based on a classic (A Tale of Two Cities)
Originally reviewed for Goodreads and Amazon
Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Mike Duron

From the very first sentence to the very last, Sydney's Story was a pleasure to read. I won't give you a synopsis of the story, since other reviewers have already done that, but I will tell you the writing is tight, smooth, and brilliant throughout. Eileen Granfors, I got the sense almost every time I turned a page, wrote the book only she could write so well. Her writing is brilliant for many reasons, but the main reason for me is the efficiency with which she can paint an entire scene and add depth to character. With a brief tag in the dialogue attribution, or a simple sentence describing what a character sees or how a character moves, she paints the scene like a masterful artist using a few well-placed black lines on a white sheet of paper. It's really the sort of writing any novice would do well to study and emulate.

The plot develops smoothly with no stagnation or lurches, and I was transported into Sydney's world and life as if I were on a great airliner piloted by an expert. Even though real-world events interrupted my reading (day job, dry cleaners, errands) I was always happy to return to Sydney's Story to see what happened next with the characters. I loved the way Ms. Granfors developed the characters throughout and even though many of the scenes were heartbreaking, I wasn't left at the end with a feeling of hopelessness, but, instead, with a feeling of hope in mankind. True evil makes an appearance more than once in this story and Ms. Ganfors doesn't blink once in her description of it. This isn't an unrealistic fairy tale, don't get that impression. There is real tragedy and cruelty in this book, but there is also great joy and kindness.

Though there are some scenes that are obviously not appropriate for young children, I would recommend this book enthusiastically to any adult or older teen. It's just the right length. I wouldn't add or delete a single sentence.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say I did get a free version of this book, but I would have paid for it and been happy to do so. I'm happy to have discovered this highly-skilled author and look forward to reading more of her work!
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