3 out of 4 stars
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The Deacon’s Daughter was written by Felipe Alvarez and was published in 2018. It is approximately 200 pages long. The book can be classified in the genre of other fiction. Felipe Alvarez is an author, architect, musician, and also a raconteur. He has authored other books that include Tales of My Medina and Other Shosh Kebab and Tails of the Hollywood Hills. His expertise in storytelling can be seen clearly in this fairly short book.
The Deacon’s Daughter is a book describing a mother-daughter rivalry. The rivalry is evident in all conversations the two engage in. Whether on a phone call or face-face dialogue, mother and daughter inevitably conclude their conversations with a disagreement. The two seem to be close, yet they are separated by a big chasm. The mother is desperately yearning to see her daughter but no matter how she intentionally tries to maintain her calmness as they talk, she finds herself and her daughter becoming embittered. Mary Elizabeth Manchester, commonly known as Betty, is a widow in her 70s. Her husband, Deacon John Manchester, passed on four years ago. Catherine Manchester Ruiz, Elizabeth’s daughter, is fifty two-years-old. She is married to Alfredo Ruiz, an independent contractor. The setting of the story is in a wealthy retirement community. What is causing the emotional tension between Betty and Cathy? Will they enter into an agreement or will the chasm continue widening?
While the story lacks a lot of actions, it vividly describes the plight of the vulnerable elderly, especially those living in assisted living communities. They are often neglected by their family members, including their children. The situation becomes more distressing if they have lost their spouses. Nobody seems to care about them. Ironically, the same people who do not care for them are the ones who assume they comprehend what is best for them. This is exactly what is contained in this story. This book has the ability to challenge the decisions sometimes made without the consent of the elderly. An example would be the impact of moving an elderly person from a place they have grown fond of to a relatively unfamiliar place. The book is packed with prudent and thought-provoking statements, and most of them are still lingering in my mind.
The characters in the book were properly developed. One can easily identify with them as they struggle with their well-founded fears and uncertainties. They are engaged in everyday mundane activities. Some have developed established routines that can easily be foretold. Apart from Cathy and her husband, most of them are living together in the assisted living community. They are used to sharing their stories and experiences. One of the characters was Roger. Roger is a witty person, and so he helped to bring out the humor in the book. When he speaks, people begin laughing. However, he neither recognizes nor accepts the fact that he is hilarious. His words made the conversations more interesting. There is much more to be said about the other characters but time and space will not allow doing so.
The book was professionally edited. I discovered only two grammatical errors. However, there were some striking instances of poor transitions between some scenes. All the other events in the story rotated around similar thing as well. Consequently, the characters are what kept me glued to the book. The ending of the story was something I never foresaw of course which is what I also relished about the book. Therefore, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I conscientiously recommend the book to all fans of other fiction books. It will appeal most to those who genuinely enjoy reading character-driven books.
The Deacon's Daughter
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