Official Review: A Promise in Autumn by Barbara Morriss

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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ViziVoir
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Official Review: A Promise in Autumn by Barbara Morriss

Post by ViziVoir » 14 May 2018, 22:47

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Promise in Autumn" by Barbara Morriss.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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A Promise in Autumn by Barbara Morriss is a historical fiction novel that follows Keagan Cadagan, an Irish immigrant, as she works at a boarding house owned by Raymond Woodrome during the 1910s. Together, they must navigate a variety of conflicts: differences in religion, as Keagan is a Catholic and Raymond is a Protestant; the World War One draft; and the flu pandemic of 1918. It's clear the author has done their research, as the crises both big and small feel not only realistic to the time period but somehow personal. Issues like war, religion, and sickness are timeless, after all.

I loved the amount of detail that went into this book. Keagan's religion and culture feel very realistic, and as a character, she is delightful without feeling forced. Many of her strengths are also her flaws: she has a sharp tongue and is unafraid to speak her mind, for example. These aspects are present with every character, even those who are relatively minor, but the narrative never feels bogged down by them, and everything is always period-appropriate.

This book handles a variety of nuanced subplots, from Keagan's accidental involvement in her former employers' shady activities to her large family struggling to take care of themselves while she works at the boarding house. Each of these is allowed its time to shine. They are never simply dropped into the narrative, and every sequence of events seems to meet a natural conclusion, for better or for worse.

Unfortunately, like many narratively excellent books, A Promise in Autumn falls short in its editing. I received this book in an ebook format, and, inexplicably, a series of capital A's breaking up the text every few pages. Since the book is only available in paperback format for purchase, I was willing to overlook this. However, the sheer variety of miscellaneous grammatical errors, from using "out" instead of "our" to odd italicization, was impossible to overlook.

Despite its engaging story and character development, I must rate A Promise in Autumn 3 out of 4 stars because of its lack of polished editing. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking to read a personal story set in this unique time period, especially those who love a strong female main character or highly detailed narratives. However, I would warn prospective readers about the grammar and formatting errors, and I'd suggest they look at the book's sample to make sure this won't be too distracting for them.

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A Promise in Autumn
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gen_g
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Post by gen_g » 18 May 2018, 02:27

Thank you for your detailed review. It is always a pity when a book has various formatting and grammatical errors. However, the plot seems well developed, and the characters rounded.

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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 18 May 2018, 03:56

This seems like a really well-written and well-paced book! It's always amazing when you can tell an author has put effort into the researching of the book--it makes it that much more credible, and allows deeper immersion for the reader. :)

Thank you for your review, it was very thorough! :D

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Post by Libs_Books » 18 May 2018, 04:26

This certainly does interest me, but I'm put off by the errors. The weird 'A' thing happens a lot with hasty transpositions, but even a cursory look-over by a publisher should have spotted that. I'm not sure whether or not to follow this one up, but I enjoyed your review, thanks.

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Post by kandscreeley » 18 May 2018, 07:44

It's really odd when there are random letters or formatting issues in the book. You often wonder where these came from. Still, I enjoy the time period that this is set in and I think I'd enjoy learning more about the historical events taking place during this time. Thanks so much!
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Post by SamSim » 18 May 2018, 11:10

ViziVoir wrote:
14 May 2018, 22:47
Keagan's religion and culture feel very realistic, and as a character, she is delightful without feeling forced. Many of her strengths are also her flaws: she has a sharp tongue and is unafraid to speak her mind, for example. These aspects are present with every character, even those who are relatively minor, but the narrative never feels bogged down by them, and everything is always period-appropriate.
This is the paragraph that clinched it for me. I aim to read this book now. Thanks for the heads-up about the formatting and editing issues but, based on your great review, I still want to check this one out. Thanks!
Samantha Simoneau

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~John Adams :greetings-clapyellow:

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Post by ViziVoir » 18 May 2018, 21:12

SamSim wrote:
18 May 2018, 11:10
This is the paragraph that clinched it for me. I aim to read this book now. Thanks for the heads-up about the formatting and editing issues but, based on your great review, I still want to check this one out. Thanks!
You really should! I enjoyed this book a ton, and it was very clear the author had done their research. I was personally able to look past the formatting and grammatical errors, in large part due to the incredible story and characters.

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 19 May 2018, 01:16

Though story contains different perspectives, they all are very well connected. It's so bad to hear about editing issues. Thanks for your interesting review.
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Post by NL Hartje » 20 May 2018, 11:37

It's interesting the connotations we make for varying reasons. Seeing this cover art, I was certain we would be talking about a collection of poetry. I'm not sure the ambiguity of the cover markets well for the historical fiction within. One gal's opinion I suppose :eusa-think:

Thanks for this review!
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Post by teacherjh » 21 May 2018, 15:53

I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this sounds well done and I love deep characters.

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Post by Ana-Maria-Diana » 29 Jun 2018, 13:41

A very detailed book that talks about issues like war, religion, and sickness is always interesting. Thank you for the review.

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