Have you ever had an off day, a not so good project?

For me the last few weeks have proven I am not always as efficient or competant as I like to believe I can be. So I understand when this happens to other people or at least I try to understand.

I have been on a reading tear lately, reading authors in the genre I want to write in to see what makes them good, what makes their stories readable or not.

One of the authors I have been exploring is Barbara Delinsky. She writes women’s fiction and has been at it for a long time. I read The Secret Between Us and Sweet Salt Air.

So what happened? I loved one book and totally hated the other. I almost gave up on her because the first book I read, Sweet Salt Air, was the one I hated.

Book Sweet Salt AirThe story is about two friends who come back together to write a cook book about the Maine island where they spent their summers. Both have secrets that could dammage everything.

I liked the writing, the decriptions of the island. I felt as if I was there. But it was the lack of suspense, the excessive reference to the one big secret (three times in the first chapter before being revealed in the second chapter) was the real turn-off. And that was before some conversation turned me off to one character in particular. I kind of sort of read the end but even that did not save my interest in the book.

I hated the book, gave it what I felt was the appropriate rating on Goodreads and felt guilty. I wanted to like it, I really did and knew I was telling the author she stinks when maybe this was just a bad outing. So I used the resources at hand, I asked another librarian to help me find a book by this author.

My thought was maybe I caught Delinsky on a bad day, maybe it was the topic I didn’t like, who knows. That is when I was handed The Secret Between Us. As I type this in, my mind is going into bad soap opera drama voiceovers. That voice in my head is going deep and melodramatic. Book the secret between us

The story is about a mother and daughter who are in a car accident. Their car hits a man on the side of the road during a rainy night. He dies but what everyone does not know is that the daughter was the one driving. She is on a permit and so Mom is right there. But Mom doesn’t tell the police that. She lets them assume she was driving.

There are more secrets that will come out. And we have to deal with an autocratic father, a selfish ex-husband, a pregnant sister, a child with vision problems, and the grieving family members of the victim. But I liked this book better. Perhaps it was because I can identify with this cast of characters better. Perhaps it seemed to me that this situation could really happen. Perhaps it was because the secret affected people but it was not as longly held.

For whatever reasons I felt one book was better than the other. When I looked at Goodreads I noticed that both books received positive reviews, both received negative. I hoped that Sweet Salt Air was one of her earlier efforts but it came out last year. Secret was published in 2008.

Perhaps Delinsky’s next book will hit me better. In the meantime, I am reading Delinsky’s 3 Wishes. Strangely enough, it feels like an upbeat Steven King book.

What are you reading?

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