Splintered Courage by J. E. Sawyer is billed as a new adult contemporary romance according to a statement on its cover. I could not get into the story at all. I cannot think of an audience that this would appeal to. The writing is mechanically good; there are no embarrassing grammar goofs, typos, or formatting problems. The story is good, but it just never takes off. It is as bland as an everyday conversation between two interested parties because more than those two would not be interested.
The best part of the writing involves description. Sawyer takes time to completely describe characters, houses, clothing, restaurants, and scenes in minute detail. I find this exhausting and uninteresting. It is why I don’t use Instagram; I don’t want to see pictures of what people eat. However, this is only my opinion; I am sure that there are readers who like this kind of writing.
In Chapter One Gemma meets her father, Garret Bradford. This is a huge surprise; it would be so for anyone, but it is casually handled here. Gemma not only accepts it, but packs everything she has in a few duffle bags, leaves her job and a rented apartment, informs no one, and leaves North Carolina on a road trip to live with her new-found father in Texas. A father she hasn’t seen in eighteen years. Right.
When the two arrive in Texas, Gemma gets to see her room in the house where she will stay with Dad. The room has a complete bathroom with tub, shower and double sinks, a kitchen, an entertainment area and a walk-in closet bigger than Gemma’s North Carolina apartment. Other bedrooms in the house are similar; the ones occupied by four males, one to a room plus one room for Dad. All males are extraordinarily handsome except for one semi-nerd. We must keep it real here. One of the unattached males causes instant lustful thoughts on the part of Gemma. This is quite a trick since Gemma has yet to experience her first kiss. Right.
All the males in the house are unattached but there is a vengeful ex-girlfriend stalking Weston, Gemma’s crush. Gemma will have to deal with that person which she surely can do. She is a strong woman. Which makes concerns about her fragility hard to believe. Dad kisses Gemma on the head in a very reassuring way every few pages. In junior high school, we would say Weston and Gemma are constantly making “googly eyes” at each other. This was a time before the word got a capital “G” and modified spelling. Everyone else exchanges knowing glances for the next many chapters. Right.
Then there is a killing, one of the most improbable and understated killings I have seen in any genre. Improbably because given the victim’s background and the perpetrator’s training the killing wouldn’t take place. A trained SEAL (not the animal) might carry it off. Understated because there are no investigations of or consequences for the crime. There is not even body disposal. Everyone agrees to walk away and forget it. Right.
This novel is available through Kindle Unlimited or for USD 2.99. I gave it three Amazon stars because it is OK. I may be unfamiliar with this genre. It is a very fast read with 118 pages divided into 28 chapters. It is not a book I want to say negative things about. If this is typical of the genre, I will be careful to avoid the genre in the future. This novel confused me too much.
I was offered this book as an advanced reader copy (ARC) by Voracious Readers Only. Because I found it on Kindle Unlimited, I downloaded it there. The author will get a bit of money and the review will appear as a verified purchase. Just saying.