Do you remember when the Atlanta Falcons reached the Super Bowl and had a 25-point lead on the Patriots? It would've been the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl win. All they had to do was not do anything stupid and manage the game.
Then, the Falcons became really complacent, started making really obvious oversights, blew coverages, missed blocks, and all of a sudden the game was tied. All they had to do was score again or run out the clock, and yet they couldn't do either. So what happened? They blew that 25-point lead and lost in overtime. Their hopes and dreams shattered. Atlanta had blown opportunity after opportunity to put the game away. They just couldn't help themselves. They self-destructed. They imploded.
This book just self-destructed for no good reason whatsoever.
This book left us wondering: HOW?
How could the author drop the ball on such a great story and characters like this? How? It just blows our minds. Everything was there. All the pieces were in place. The characters were interesting. The plot was going somewhere. We cared about what was happening and whether or not the characters were going to be ok, and then the author just couldn't help herself. There just needed to be pedophilia talk. There just needed to be heavy-handed social commentary on religion, socialism, and capitalism. There just needed to be the “N” word thrown around, and it just needed to be thrown around by one of our favorite characters up to that point. We're just opening our hands with our jaws wide open asking: HOW? How do you shatter a freaking diamond? How did this even get past all of the creative writer groups/circles the author keeps saying proofread this? Again, it seems like they skimmed the book and then realized their evening yoga class was coming up, so they said, “It looks good to me!”
Pat on the back. Pat on the back. Pat on the back. That's how these writing circles seem to go. Well, in this case, maybe the writer needed a figurative kick in the behind.
We've already had a story from this author about incest between a grandmother and grandson. We've already had a story from this author (probably two or three at this point) ripping on religion. We've already had a story from this author in which a cat is sexually objectified, figurative or not. We've already had a story from this author with the “N” word thrown around for chuckles. We've had at least two stories from this author of men whipping out their genitalia and waving them in public. When is it enough already? Someone—a really good beta reader, not an #$@ kisser who blows smoke—needs to sit down with this writer and keep them in check, because if literally anyone had called out this author and told them “This is NOT OK” this book might actually be GREAT.
You have the Jane Austen archetype (even named Jane) with a potential learning disability. You have the oppressive boarding school. You have a really compelling romance. You have tension from all sides—the LGBTQ love-triangle tension, the interracial tension, the class struggle. You even have a compelling murder mystery! It's so tragic that all of that gets muddled by the author's inability to just get out of her own head and into the characters' heads.
This is comparable to Onision with better grammar. Who is Onision? Oh, he's this author who is also this influencer who REALLY HATES the following things in this order: God, religion, and his father. How do we know this? Because the villains in almost every single one of his poorly-written stories are either God, religious people, or father figures. And he rants about it constantly. And he won't shut up about it to save himself. It sounds a lot like this book. But hey, at least it has better grammar, right?
Look, the use of the “N” word in this book is not as bad as its usage in Lizzies Frizzies. For one, the character who says it also suffers the consequence of ceasing to be alive by the end of this. The problem is that he was built up as one of the best characters in the book before that point. And it's not made any better by how the targeted Black character, Moses, is characterized. We can hardly remember anything about his personality except what the white folks say about him—that he's like a savage, un-Christian, and a voodoo practitioner. But he's a good guy, right? Whatever that means. He might as well be a cardboard cutout with a shirt that says, "Token Black Character, Nice Guy, They Are Wrong About Me." That's how bad it is. At least we're not being prompted to hate him, but that's the least we should expect.
Look, we're not kidding when we say that this could've been great. The couple in this was on the way to being a top five couple in this contest. They had mutual attraction and some chemistry. There was childlike wonder in the infatuation they held. Then, you know what? The author happened to them. They may be blood relatives. Not just cousins, no. Take your guess as to how closely related these two are cause we're pretty done talking and thinking about it.
And what's more is so much of this takes place when the characters are like 9-14, and they're described with a pretty disgusting amount of sexual detail for characters this age including full nudity, skirt raising, excretions, and menstrual blood—you name it. Gosh, it's just unbelievable. It just seems like every character wants to rape another character. Every adult seems like a molestation waiting to happen. Georgina is constantly leering at and undressing Anne with her eyes even though they're not together. It's unbelievable what this story tries to get away with.
And Henry! Henry just gets ruined in every way, shape, and form you can ruin a character. How do you ruin Henry?! How do you turn him into an abusive, misogynistic racist after the way you introduced him as Jane and Lady Anne's saving grace?! The one good person in their life who they could look to as their beacon of light and hope. You crushed it. How?! How do you mess up something that good that badly?
This author has a great grasp of the English language. You already know we aren't full of crap, so when we say that, we mean it. She also has a really cool, sexy author name that would probably sell copies. She is capable of creating likable characters and building real tension. She just needs to stop putting a stick in the spoke of her own tire.
The book is on Amazon HERE.