4 out of 4 stars
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Clear your diaries! Clear your schedules! And cancel all social plans. Because once you start reading The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles, you won’t be able to stop. Set in 1980s Atlanta, the story follows the romantic trials and tribulations of the beautiful, but oh- so exhaustingly difficult, Lucy MacMiel. On the surface, she is the quintessentially fierce career woman who has it all. She has the looks, the brains, the marriage and her own little family. So, what is the problem? Surely, that is the ultimate goal for most people. Well, Lucy MacMiel is not most people. Unsatisfied with her life and blinded by the influential charms of Hower Bain, a TV - evangelist accused of child molestation, she flees to Africa to start a new life with him. Suddenly, the cracks begin to show as she questions her new lover’s true motives and his true character. Feeling deeply embarrassed and ashamed, Lucy heads back to Atlanta with hopes she can rebuild her career and gain back the trust of the family she left behind. Let me say this, I devoured this book in 3 days flat! I only had to ready the opening lines of the book’s description and I knew I was in for a real treat. Addictive is the best word I can use to describe this remarkable piece of work.
Firstly, The Spirit of Want is one of the most hugely satisfying and strikingly original books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It delivers a spectacular blend of romance and gripping fictional drama ( two of my favourite genres combined!) There are so many twists and turns in this fast-paced book, that it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing storylines. However, all of the storylines bleed into one core theme; everything is not what appears to be. For example, on the surface, the MacMiel family present themselves as the affluent, picture-perfect, charitable family. However, behind closed doors, it's a totally different story. Domestic violence, greed, sibling rivalry and jealousy are some of the endless issues circulating the MacMiel family. From sinful saints to deceitful lawyers, this book is riddled with hypocrisy and pretence. Secondly, the characters in this book are deeply flawed and are certainly not bland one-dimensional bores. I found myself questioning every single character because they all seemed to have hidden agendas. I was unable to trust anybody besides innocent Jennifer. Furthermore, I love the range of taboo subjects displayed in this book, but you have to mentally prepare yourself for every single one. I read the first five chapters, and just when I got over the drunk driving incident - boom!- in comes the child molestation case and the extramarital affair. Trust me, this book is an emotional rollercoaster, so you have to be on your toes. If you are somebody (like me) who has a freakish obsession with books that venture into the dark side, then this is the one for you.
Sadly, as much as I loved the gripping theatrics of this book, I did notice quite a few grammatical errors. And at times the story felt disconnected like there were missing pieces of the puzzle to be filled. For instance, Hower Bain and Lucy Macmiel hated each other at first, and then they became fully-fledged lovers. I would've appreciated just a little bit more background and storyline development, but I'm just going to assume that the author purposely chose to be vague, to allow the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps. Speaking of Lucy Macmiel, I couldn't sympathise with the ice-maiden one bit. Her hot and cold personality frustrated me so much, but I did admire her drive, confidence and no-nonsense snappy remarks. That's all I have for Lucy in the compliments department. Other than these minor flaws, the book is gloriously staggering and heart-stopping. In terms of technical writing, it just requires a little polishing.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, I would highly recommend this book to readers who have a desire for dark storylines and plots. Each chapter leaves you haunted and searching for answers. Call me mentally disturbed, but there is something quite fascinating about taboo topics. Gritty, unsettling stories, such as The Spirit of Want push you outside your comfort zone and dares readers to think beyond normality.
In conclusion, author William H. Coles gets a 4 out of 4 stars rating from me. Besides the jumpy time frames and spelling errors, I have nothing but total praise for this book. It's bold, fearless and goes beyond the limits. A true reflection of life; it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
The Spirit of Want
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