2 out of 4 stars
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Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles is the story of a young man, Darwin, who is shipped off to live with an estranged cousin, Luther, after the passing of his parents and his caregiver, an Aunt, was sent to live in a nursing home. Luther proves himself to be a poor guardian who doesn't allow Darwin access to his court-mandated trust fund or even reasonable living accommodations. This relationship is strained from the beginning, but Darwin finds a way to fall into the good graces of other new people, including the staff at the mansion and Luther's grandmother.
The book attempts to tackle such hot button issues as gambling addiction, murder, adultery, domestic violence, and drug use. While it had a lot of potential, I failed to connect and grasp the author's underlying motivation and message. As such, I give this book 2 out of 4 stars. With most books, I'm left with an understanding of what I gained by reading the story. Some books are purely for entertainment, while others teach a lesson or challenge you to think differently. I'm not sure what the point of this story was and why I spent time reading it. There were ample spelling errors, sentences that were lengthy and difficult to understand, and overall, this book was not the most pleasant experience for a reader.
One thing I enjoyed about this story is the main character, Darwin. He is an incredibly kind, generous, well-adjusted man given his past and the circumstances in which he found himself. Darwin has a goal in mind the entire story, acceptance into medical school to become a doctor like his father, and he follows that path without stray. Darwin's perfection from the start left very little room for character development, however. I thought that the Darwin of the first five pages was the same Darwin of the last five and that none of his experiences throughout the book changed him.
There were several things I did not enjoy about this book; among them, how often the plot jumped around. Throughout the story, I wondered how old the characters were, how much time had passed, and if anything happened in the intervening period that the reader would need to know.
The female characters in this book leave something to be desired too. Every woman in this book was weak, needy, desperate, crazy, or some combination of the four. All of the women needed to be consoled by Darwin at some point, while adultery and lying ran rampant. It felt like an extremely unfair assessment of females and left me wondering what the author was trying to express.
It's worth noting that there was some intrigue and mystery that, had the author been able to integrate and pull together all the storylines, could have saved the book. There were moments where I felt drawn into the story, but I was quickly lost again with the next change of scene.
Given my distaste for the book, it's hard for me to recommend who might enjoy it. Perhaps it could be suited for those who enjoy books to pass the time but don't take issue with not receiving a sense of finality.
Guardian of Deceit
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