3 out of 4 stars
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William H. Coles’ Guardian of Deceit is a literary fiction novel with Darwin Hastings as its main character. The beginning of the novel sees Darwin leaving Pittsburgh and his beloved aunt - five years after the death of his parents – to live with his celebrity cousin Luther who happens to be the star player in the NFL and now his legal guardian. By all appearance, Luther seems to be living a charmed lifestyle with a state of the art mansion, money and fame, but Darwin soon learns that appearance could be deceiving.
Upon getting to the Pinnelli mansion, Darwin is thrown into a life of lies, deceit, gambling and secrets. His expectations of living comfortably and getting the level of education that both his parents and his aunt would have loved for him is almost bashed to the ground by Luther’s idea of parenthood and love – which can only be described as tough love. A love that demands him to earn his accommodation and allowance - that rightfully belongs to him - by doing menial jobs and services for his cousin. A love that sees no importance in giving the young man the education that his parents wished for him. Will Darwin be able to come out untouched and unscathed by his cousin’s world of secrets, drugs and illegal poker game? Will he survive Luther’s guardianship and be the doctor that he has always wanted to be? Or will the cold and ruthless world that he was thrown into affect him negatively for the rest of his life? Find out for yourself in the pages of the novel.
What I loved best about Guardian of Deceit was the character development. William H. Coles really did a great job of developing almost all the characters that appeared in the book. He made the likes, dislikes, history, attitudes, weekeness etc. of characters such as Sweeney, Mrs Thompson, Helen, Lazlo, known intimately to his readers. This he did by not making the whole book about Darwin or his life. Chapters were dedicated to certain characters and their life.
Still on the subject of characters, I love how the author didn’t place a label of protagonist or villain on any of his characters. They were portrayed as just humans. Humans who made bad decisions in life, humans that succeeded in their field, humans with feelings. Even Luther who cheats, lies and doesn’t care, Luther who makes it so easy to hate or dislike him, turned out to be a human that can be broken emotionally after all. Alas he was capable of love, a fact that was proven towards the end of the novel which came as a surprise to me.
I also loved how the book doesn’t revolve solely around Darwin and his life. The story of Betsy’s disappearance added an action/thriller feeling to the book, something that was greatly appreciated by me as it changed the slightly monotonous tone of the book and kept me on my toes, which in turn kept me reading to discover what in fact happened to Betsy.
One thing that didn’t quite sit well with me was the number of incomplete plots. There were moments where I felt like I was being bombarded with information or facts about something that happened in the past that wasn’t mentioned at all, but was now being talked about. I understand that that is William H. Coles’ style of writing, but I prefer a more straight-forward read that doesn’t get me going “Hey, wait up a second, what just happened? When did that happen?...”
In conclusion, I must say that Guardian of deceit was an interesting read. Typographical and grammatical errors are minimal, the writing style, although different from the popular writing styles out there made the book interesting, the illustrations didn’t take away from the readability of the novel and I felt like I knew on an intimate level, the characters and could understand their struggles. Guardian of Deceit gets a 3 out of 4 stars from me because of the above mentioned qualities and I recommend this beautiful literary work to readers from 15 years and above.
Guardian of Deceit
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