Romance and feminist literature are not genre I usually follow. Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, The Husband’s, yes, but these are exceptions. Every once in a while an interesting presentation during early marketing of a book catches my attention, as happened with this one. I did not pay enough attention to the early advertising blurbs for this one. Disappointment followed, but it is my fault.
The Fourteen Day Soul Detox by RITA STRADLING
I received a copy of this book in return for a review from the Library Thing Member Giveaway Program. I was interested enough in the initial blurb description that I completely missed that it was volume one in a novella series.
I liked the idea of this book when I read the agenda for the fourteen days. I was looking forward to seeing how that would play out. So, I was wondering as I read how each “chapter” heading was “Day One” followed by a time notation. Then I get to the end and find that this was book 1. Presumably I have to acquire 13 other books to find out how this works out. I am not happy.
The device that I presume will hold everything together is the list of 14 things Jamie must do. This is an intriguing structure. The structure is repeated in book one by going through a day by hours with possible mini-conflicts arising throughout the day. There is certainly room for all kinds of conflicts. Jaime has a daughter who might be a bit hyperactive. She has a boyfriend who was the husband of a former best friend. She has a dead husband and a good friend who has just set her up with a hot guy, said guy also being a single parent with a great job. Ok, maybe tax lawyer is not a great job. The best friend who set her up is in a same sex marriage arrangement, so we have pandered to the political correctness crowd. She is part owner of a struggling coffee shop which she is anxious about selling, or not. She works part time in a bar. These two jobs along with a hyperactive child and a lover she needs to get rid of provides stress. We have yet to consider familial conflicts between Jaime, dad, stepmom, real mom, and sister. All this is played out in a fast read that in character time is one day.
With all of this going on, how can there be any depth to any character? I could not find any well- developed character. That the characters might be well developed in 13 follow on novels is not something I trust enough to spend the time required to 1) read the follow ups and 2) wait for them to be written. I do not agree with a note at the end of this novel that it, volume one, is complete in itself. It is as if I read a forty-minute episode in a made-for-television series.