18/07/2011

This Fine Life (by Eva Marie Everson)

I had never heard of Eva Marie Everson; apparently she's a speaker as well as a writer. I came across her novel while browsing free Kindle books; each week there are special offers, and this one was available at no cost a few weeks ago.

'This Fine Life' is a light American romance set in the 1960s. It's narrated by a young school-leaver called Mariette. Initially rather confused about her future, with parents who don't really agree on what would be best, she falls in love with the handsome store clerk Thayne. They have something of a whirlwind romance, against the wishes of her parents who are sadly snobby; inevitably, barely knowing each other, they discover that married life is fraught with more and more problems.

The prologue to the story describes a period when Mariette is at her parents' home, and pregnant. We don't know why she's there, nor why she feels regret over something to do with her husband. It's cleverly done, leaving me wondering what would happen to bring her to this state. Had he died? Had they separated? Had he gone to war...? It wasn't until I had almost reached the place in the novel where the prologue event takes place that it all made sense in a satisfying way.

The ending is a bit dramatic, and rather too quick but overall it works well. I found Mariette a bit too naive in places, and Thayne surprisingly unwilling to let anyone know what he was feeling - but I liked the way their relationship developed. The writing is good and the pace about right, even though some of the minor characters seem a little flat.

The book is Christian, but in a mostly low-key way (despite Thayne being very devout). I found it quite thought-provoking in places.

Overall I enjoyed 'This Fine Life'. I don't think I would pay full price for it, either in book form or for the Kindle, but am glad I read it.

(Note that the Amazon links are to the paperback version of this novel).

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 18th July 2011

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