1 out of 4 stars
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Loving From a Distance by Betty Wilson is a fictional love story that follows Brenna Smaller and her love for James Williams from the young age of eleven. It was always love at first sight for Brenna, but she was too young and shy and had to love James from a distance. Later in their teens, they would profess their love for each other despite the attention James was constantly getting from other girls. However, shortly after, James would be off to college at Statesman University. In a couple of years, Brenna would go off to Vander University, and they would be forced to continue to love each other from a distance. With their pact to save themselves for marriage and the unwaning interest from other parties, will their love endure?
Set in mostly in Atlanta, Georgia, the story is told from the third-person perspective, and it explores themes revolving around family, love, and faith. Another central aspect of the story is the friendship between Brenna and Julie, her closest friend from childhood. The characters also had the gift of singing, and it was inspiring to see them form a Christian music group and support each other along the way while rooting for their relationships. I also appreciated the author's underlying message of putting God first in any endeavor and never forgetting where you come from. Nevertheless, reading Loving From a Distance was quite a struggle.
There was a lot to dislike about this book. The first and most obvious dislike would be the book's poor editing. From the first few pages, readers can expect to struggle with understanding what is being said due to these errors, and it won't get any better as they continue to read. I found over ten errors within the first ten pages. Also, plot and character development were severely lacking. While I found their love story interesting and hoped they would overcome their trials, I did not feel their emotions at all. The author's narration focused on just about everything else besides showing how much they loved each other, occasionally mentioning their feelings after lengthy narrations of their plans, school work, and singing careers.
Furthermore, a lot of things were very difficult to believe in the story. To start with, things fell into place for the characters far too easily, from how easy it was to transition into professional singers while combining school work and still graduating with all As to their families mysteriously winning a 700-million-dollar lottery and the unreal situations surrounding the end of the story that I cannot reveal here. Most of the characters were perfect and lacked individuality. There was absolutely no difference between Brenna and Julie, to the point that they even achieved everything either on the same day or one day apart.
The story had a lot of potential for me, especially after reading the book's description. However, Loving From a Distance was a letdown. I rate this book one out of four stars and would refrain from recommending it to any audience in its current state.
Loving From a Distance
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