Official Review: Gathered by Kurt Hansen

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: Gathered by Kurt Hansen

Post by Cecilia_L » 11 Nov 2019, 19:33

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Gathered" by Kurt Hansen.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Gathered by Kurt Hansen is the fictional journey of Sol Severson, a man who appears to have it all but longs for more. Despite his successful accounting career, home in an affluent Chicago neighborhood, and the love of his wife and daughter, Sol feels empty. As the story unfolds, he faces a traumatic loss that causes him to confront buried feelings involving his father. Seeking healing and answers, Sol returns to his small hometown in Wisconsin to learn more about his family roots. Will he find the peace and fulfillment he is seeking?

This well-written book is 201 pages and is divided into four sections that are named for the seasons of the year but are also symbolic of Sol's journey. In the synopsis, Hansen is conservative about the details he shares regarding Sol's loss, so I will respectfully follow suit. However, Sol's journey draws certain parallels to Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book traverses themes of family, relationships, loss, grief, forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and redemption. Although the story focuses primarily on Sol's internal struggle, Hansen effectively drives the plot through various evolving relationships.

Hansen's character development is spot-on. He masters the writing rule of showing versus telling and skillfully portrays characters by giving the reader glimpses into their lives. Sol is relatable and likable while his teenage daughter, Amy, is often moody. Sol's wife, Jan, tends to distance herself when she becomes overwhelmed, and his secretary, Emma, is bubbly but efficient. Sol's relationship with Aunt Christine is especially endearing. Hansen's characters are distinctive to the point that I feel I could identify them by the dialogues alone.

I particularly like Hansen's writing style; it is eloquent, captivating, and filled with prose-like imagery, such as, "They were a veritable palette of people, all living in proximity, and all blendable with the brush strokes of memory, melded by their shared history into a broad panorama, much like their color-rich autumn trees." I also appreciate Hansen's inclusion of a protagonist with a strong respect for women. Despite growing up in the 50s, Sol refers to his father's example of mutual respect between his parents.

I honestly can't name anything I dislike about the book or highlight any suggested improvements. In addition to the excellent writing, the editing is pristine. The book contains several profane words; only one is R-rated. The minimal sexual references are of a romantic nature and are non-explicit.

I wholeheartedly rate Gathered 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who appreciate stories about redemption, family, and relationships. The book will also appeal to those who enjoy writing that is characterized by imagery and prose.

******
Gathered
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Stephanie Elizabeth
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth » 22 Nov 2019, 16:00

This sounds really good! I like that it is comprised of 4 sections (seasons) Sounds like a character-driven book. Thanks for the wonderful review!

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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L » 22 Nov 2019, 19:34

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Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
22 Nov 2019, 16:00
This sounds really good! I like that it is comprised of 4 sections (seasons) Sounds like a character-driven book. Thanks for the wonderful review!
Thank you, Stephanie.

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Post by ashley_claire » 24 Nov 2019, 08:25

I was drawn to this review by the cover of the book, but what's inside sounds equally intriguing. It sounds like a bit of a family drama, which I enjoy now and again. Thanks for the detailed review.

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Cecilia_L
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Post by Cecilia_L » 25 Nov 2019, 09:22

ashley_claire wrote:
24 Nov 2019, 08:25
I was drawn to this review by the cover of the book, but what's inside sounds equally intriguing. It sounds like a bit of a family drama, which I enjoy now and again. Thanks for the detailed review.
I like the cover, too. Thanks for your comment, Ashley.

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Post by LauraLeeWasHere » 01 Dec 2019, 02:46

It seems obvious that you have been critiquing books for a while because you really know your stuff. Not only do you examine the various aspects of the books but your own writing is intelligent yet easily understandable. And you have a true talent at expressing your thoughts concisely and creatively while adding just the right quotes from the book to affirm your opinions. One of my favorite of your descriptions was that "the editing was pristine." It certainly gives your readers a clear picture, even on an emotional level of what you're communicating. You have such a wide vocabulary, you're able to find just the words you need to express your meanings.

Thank you for another great review. You are turning me into a fan. :D

Sincerely, LLR
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. John 21:25 KJV

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Post by kdstrack » 02 Dec 2019, 16:34

Your description of Sol's discontent intrigues me. I think many people go through this. They have everything they need, but they still feel like something is missing. You alluded to forgiveness and redemption as part of his journey. I am wondering if his healing/fulfillment had something to do with a spiritual crisis. Your review has made me curious about this story!!

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