Book Review of Women of Washington Avenue, a Hen Lit Romance by Linda Apple
Welcome back to another Write On Purpose book review, the first of 2015! Each week I review a well-written book, highlighting what makes it good from the reader’s perspective and what writing skills and techniques make it an irresistible read.Thus, each review serves both writers and readers.
Before I go on, you may be wondering…
What is “Hen Lit”?
A few years ago, “chick lit” became a “thing” – a genre. Books about and for women, particularly younger women, flooded the market.
Then the more mature ladies said, “Hey, what about us? We’re not sprig chickens, but we are still interesting women living vibrant lives.” Hen lit came from that evolution. Hen lit showcases interesting women in and beyond middle age.
Women of Washington Avenue
Women of Washington Avenue tells the story of several unstoppable and very cool women of the south who all live on the same street, their lives weaving together through the years.
Here is the description of Amazon:
All of them are ready for another chance at love. But when that chance comes to each of them, it brings startling surprises and secrets that threaten their hopes for love.
This is an uplifting “feel good” book. Yes, there is conflict, as in life, but it is not overly intense. The women are all over fifty and, as anyone I know over that age, living a full and vibrant life and never giving up on themselves.
I love how well Linda Apple develops each of the women. THey are most definitely distinct, the result of an experienced writer accustomed to revealing character.
Not only are these “hens” each over fifty, most of them are full bodied ladies. Only one bean pole in this book, Ava who has succumbed to her time in New York to be tiny until returning to her home in the South puts some meat back on her bones.
I personally find it refreshing to read (and, since I am an author, write) about women who don’t count every calorie and only eat five bites of food at a time. Brava! Unlike what the media would have you believe, luscious women can indeed attract a man.
I love one of Avalee’s lines to Jemma: “We need all the sass we can get at our age.”
I say we need all te sass we can get at ANY age! I’ve had that quality all my life, miuch to my mother’s chagrin, I’m sure.
I love that each of the ladies has a chance to tell part of the tale. Avales’s segments are in first person, the others in third. I’ve read a few books like this recently, where narration shifts between first and third person depending who tells that part of the story.
The advantage for an author is you get to play with different storytelling methods within the same work. You’re not locked in to only first or only third person narration. This method provides variety for the reader.
Linda Apple does an excellent job of remaining in the head of the narrator without losing focus and straying. If you’re a “green” (budding) author, struggling with staying in one narrator’s head, reading this book provides guidance for you to study.
If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll know I don’t tend to read a lot of romances, particularly in the general fiction category. This book has a number of budding relationships.
Many mainstream romances involve explosive outbursts and love-hate relationships. This one not so much. There are secret pasts, startling revelations and a couple of fights, but there is no “contrived hyper-drama”, as I call it.
If you are a budding romance author, realize that you don’t have to create false conflicts in order to tell an interesting story of the growth of a relationship. Out here in real life, not everyone goes off the deep end because you tagged them in a Facebook photo or forgot to pick up the dry cleaning.
No need to exaggerate drama in romances. That’s one of the things that makes me cringe about the genre as a whole…too much fabricated conflict. If you want gritty, explosive fighting, this book is not for you. if you’re after something hopeful, or wish to write hopeful books, Women of Washington Avenue is an excellent study.
Women of Washington Avenue doesn’t rea like real life, but life as we would wish it to be. Men say the right things and act lovingly toward their women. Conflicts find happy resolution. Characters reveal burdens and find supportive understanding.
Though the book is over 300 pages, it is a fast and fun read. I read the Kindle edition and didn’t realize it was that long until I was looking up the various details to include in this review. Women of Washington Avenue is another excellent Wild Rose Press book.
Order Women of Washington Avenue from Amazon.com, Kindle or print.
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