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*Beware! Spoilers! * I have to say that I was let down by this offering from Hawker. I have read her other works and became a fan of her unusual story twists, outstanding prose and character insights. But ‘The Rise of Light’ did not come up to her standards. The pace was sloth-like. None of the characters were likeable. Nothing happens until late in the book, except revenge inspired teen angst (usually foot stomping and eye rolling). The young teen character, Tamsin, was more like a brooding brat, always looking for ways to impeach authority. She knew that she lived in a strict religious home and yet she pushed family members’ buttons for no good reason except that she could. She was the one that wanted to continue to pose for the secret nude paintings for her brother, and if not for Aran’s determination this would have continued into adulthood. The whole concept is creepy and they knew it. Guilt feelings and the insistence to keep the paintings secret should have proved that to them. Hawker repeatedly tries to justify Aran’s motives. It is art. Nothing sexual happened. It is a study. Only posing. Sorry to say, the excuses don’t work. It is still unsettling and somehow exploitative. Of course, spilling their secret will eventually be used to solidify Tamsin’s desire for revenge even if it destroys her father and the brother’s marriage. Yes, Gad deserved it, the controlling jerk. But it turns out that the daughter is no better than the father she despises. The mother is a space cadet and Aran’s wife, Linda, somehow an art genius and business whiz with little or no education, is portrayed as a strong woman. She is a rebellious phony that pursues Aran and presents Tamsin with a distorted outlook on the world. Then she is ready to bolt with ‘my’ baby when she realizes that Aran and Tamsin aren’t what she thought they were. At last, the happy happy ending came. It is unabashedly contrived. Mormon religious patriarchs are ubiquitously portrayed as controlling and selfish. Maybe they are. But in this book the entire family is filled with psychotics in one ilk or another. Hawker has a unique talent for descriptive genius, but without a great story to go along with it, the book reduces to a lot of pretty words with no real substance. Hawker can do better. She should do better.
So many parts when I read every word and then other parts that I ended up skimming because they went on and on. The flood was amazingly written and horrific. But then the healing was left out and everyone just came to their senses immediately. I wish there was the same ending written differently.
Good story, the held my interest but at times it was overly dramatic and I found myself talking back to the audible version that I listened to while driving. In the end this book did leave me wanting to know what’s next for the family. I read the sequel.
Only 3 stars because I had a hard time getting into this story. I absolutely loved reading “One for the blackbird one for the crow”. I felt the writing was not as strong in this book. I’m still a fan of this author and will continue to buy her books. This book just wasn’t a good fit for me.
I loved this author’s previous two novels, found the writing, character development and storyline to be exceptional. I was excited to read this book when it was published. Alas, it left me wondering if I was reading the same author’s work. The pace of the story was stifling until the end, with characters that only added to the drag. The strange obsession between the oldest brother and his younger sister to paint her in the nude, many of the paintings occurring while she was a young teenager is unsettling and never explained in away that makes it more palatable. I finished the book, but it took a lot of determination.
I was looking forward to reading this book and was very disappointed. It was so depressing! I also felt it was very repetitive , many of the descriptions were repeated in new scenes. The ending was good but it took a long depressing road to get there. Hope her next book is more like her first two books.