3 out of 4 stars
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The Guardian of Deceit by William H.Cole is the story of a young man Darwin Hastings who after being orphaned at an early age has been living with his aunt. When due to ill health she has to go into care Darwin must find a new guardian. Journeying from Pittsburgh to the Hamptons where he will live with his cousin, Luther Pinelli, a professional football player he encounters Dr Malverne. Dr Malverne will go on to play a large part in his life, primarily helping him fulfill his ambition of becoming a doctor.
Arriving at his cousins mansion he finds himself lodged in an old utiliy room. Luther a brutish, ignorant man with many vices refuses to give Darwin his allowance left to him in trust by his parents. He must now find ways of earning money to fund his education. He soon makes allies with Mrs Thomas the house manger and Luther's granny a cantankerous, scrabble playing old woman.
The author's perceptive observations of human nature makes the characters very believable. The prose are concise, there are no superfluous passages. However with the abrute endings in some of the chapters, especially concerning Luther you are left with a multitude of unanswered questions. Also when Luther's girlfriend Sweeney is involved in an horrific event that would traumatise the most stalwart person the narrative quickly passes on and no mark seems to be left on the people or the book.
Darwin even though the main character seems to be the most aneamic in personality and is used more as a needle and thread to stitch the story together.The part of the narrative retold by Lazlo about Mrs Thomas's daugther could in itself be a stand alone short story. I found no grammatical errors , but this being the fourth edition it is unlikely that there are any.
I would give this book 3 out of 4 stars for all the above reasons and because it feels more like a series of short episodes that take place in Darwins life from the time he comes to live with his cousin until he qualifies as a doctor. It does not seem to have the traditional format of a book with a beginning, middle and an end but I can't think of any reason why someone would not enjoy this book, it is a good read, maybe only if this is not your genre of literature. If on the other hand you are a people watcher, it's a must. You will be left thinking about it's characters long after you have put the book down.
Guardian of Deceit
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