3 out of 5 stars
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Sissy is the nickname Carl gives to his newborn daughter, Zoey, shortly before his wife dies in childbirth. Anna, an empathetic nurse at the hospital, connects with Carl because she lost her husband and daughter in a car crash. Although the title, Sissy, refers to Carl's child, she is not the protagonist. Author Les Sullins chronicles the developing romance between the two lovers in this medical romance.
Sullins' writing style is dialogue heavy. We get to know all the individuals through indirect characterization. A random check of five consecutive pages revealed a dialogue percentage of 90%. Descriptive prose is minimal. There is a lot of telling and little showing. This technique made the pacing slow for me because I got bored with hearing the characters talk.
I enjoy watching Grey's Anatomy and other medical shows, and I liked that this story had the added component of being faith-based. The Christian aspect is not overbearing or forced. Sullins shows how the couple's belief helped them during their darkest moments and how God answered their prayers. Although the majority of the action takes place in the hospital, the medical terminology is limited. The focus is mainly on the response of the characters to different diagnoses and procedures.
My favorite character was Carl's father. His pithy conversations are sprinkled with curse words, which might be considered unusual in this genre. His five-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, innocently repeats his profanities, which provides some comic relief. Carl, Sr. and his wife pretend to bicker over his lifestyle choices, but it is obvious that they are loving parents and grandparents. Zoey is often a partner-in-crime with her grandfather as they sneak foods that neither is supposed to have.
In addition to the slow pace, there is a problem with verb tense shifts. The third-person narration shifts between past and present randomly. There were also enough typos to require a star deduction. I think another round of editing would improve this book. I do appreciate that the chronology was consistent and easy to follow.
Unlike doctor shows on TV, the suspense and drama here are low-key. Readers who are looking for a feel-good, inspirational love story would enjoy this book. Readers who like books with plot twists will find this book meets those needs. Due to the errors and the slow pace, I am rating this book three out of five. I wish I could discuss the cover without creating a spoiler. You will just have to read the book to understand it.
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