THE NOVELIST
Angela Hunt

 


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WestBow Press, January 2006
Reviewed by Susan Conatser

Jordan Kerrigan is a novelist. She's written an eleven book series featuring super spy Rex Tower under the name Jordan Casey. The public thinks Jordan Casey is a man---until she agrees to teach a writing course at the community college. On the first day of teaching her classroom is filled with Rex Tower groupies, curious fans and students, one of whom challenges her writing skills. The student, Ian Morley, thinks Jordan has been dishonest. Not just about her gender, but because she is detached from her writing. How else could a wife and mother write about a single, ex-Navy SEAL whose only intimate relationship is with his dog? Morley's jabs resonate with Jordan and as she teaches the students what she knows about novel writing, they teach her a few lessons about life as well.

Jordan's college-age son, Zachary is a troubled young man dealing with an alcohol addiction. His behavior has a painful impact on the Kerrigan family. Outside the classroom Jordan begins a new writing project about the fall and redemption of a troubled young man, one she hopes will speak to Zachary, one she hopes will show him that God can "use our mistakes to mature us." The project demands that Jordan pour herself into the story as she explores issues of her faith. As she makes the journey---along with her new fictional character---she discovers insights that help her understand both her son and God's grace in a new way.

THE NOVELIST is an imaginative and refreshing tale. It is also a story within a story. It's has a clever plot, complex characters and is so skillfully written I felt like I was in writing class myself. Author Angela Hunt has a unique style and voice. The chapters are divided between the classroom, her home life and the world of her fictional character. Zachary's struggle is examined through Jordan's writing process as her son's drama is played out. The scenes are written mostly from Jordan's point of view, sometimes from her fictional character, but I would have liked to see a bit from her son Zachary. His crisis drives the family conflict, but we never really get to know him completely.

This is an amazing book from an author who is new to me. THE NOVELIST is a book I plan to share with my reading buddies. It includes a reading guide for book clubs. Angela Hunt has a long backlist of titles, well over seventy-five books. They range from contemporary and historical fiction to children's books and nonfiction. She is an award-winning author who has received the Christy Award, Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine and National Readers Choice Award for excellence in Christian fiction. The author has created an interesting website connected to this book for the fictional author Jordan Casey. It appears real, but the books offered for sale and the press releases are added to promote the realism of this character as a novelist www.jordancasey.com.

February 2006
 

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