4 out of 4 stars
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Guardian of Deceit by William H. Coles
Guardian of Deceit is a fictional book on the life of Darwin Hastings, an extremely intelligent, driven and generally impressive character, and the people around him. It starts with him as a high school student who was orphaned while still young and is headed to live with Luther, his football celebrity cousin, now that his aunt is dead. He goes into this new phase in his life optimistic and determined to succeed, excited for the future and all it holds, only to discover that his cousin is a gruff, insensitive, self-centered and generally unpleasant man who is ever absent. He finds himself working to support himself in a mansion with several other occupants that shape the direction of his new life.
The book documents his life in college and after, the web of lies wound around those that will be the most important to him. It documents his drive for success, his first love, his college life and his introduction to the Malverne family. It shows his strength, patience, his unfailing loyalty to his friends, and consideration to those that would wish him harm.
We also meet other characters that drastically broaden the dimensions of the story. Sweeney Pale is a pop celebrity and Luther’s girlfriend. Her insecurities and tortured psyche is revealed in painful detail throughout the story, made worse by Luther’s inattention. Like Darwin, she is loyal to Luther despite his flaws, and they find themselves caught up in his web of deceit one too many times. We have Granny, a well-meaning but overbearing lady that is touched by Darwin’s character. We are also introduced to Hellen Malverne, a typical upper-class lady with a different edge than we normally see.
However, in my view, this is not just a coming-of-age story. Darwin becomes the center of a myriad of characters that are complex in their feelings, insecurities, secrets and lies. It shows how he traverses the upper class in society, their prejudices and nature. It shows his struggle as he realizes that morality and the world is not simple. It is not in white and black, but rather in so many layers of grey that it is difficult to judge morality, to be certain of right and wrong sometimes.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. What I love about this book is that it never settles on one point. It is forever shifting, the timelines on his life are changing, moving with him as he grows, from a boy to a man. The book also combines different genres, building suspense and jumping from one character’s point of view to another flawlessly. The book is incredibly well-written and the author’s expertise on the subject is obvious. We are taken on a constant emotional roller-coaster from the beginning to the end. We sympathize with the young Darwin, admire his fortitude as we get to know him better, cry with lovely Sweeney as she worries about her life, fume over Luther and Hellen, and so on. It could not be captured any better. I also love that the book has a lot of parallels with real life, that the dilemmas faced are everyday problems that we face. The author leaves us to make our own conclusions based on what he tells us. He only gives us half the puzzle, and that is the beauty of it.
I highly recommend this book to readers. It is a lovely book, very emotional and beautiful to read. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Guardian of Deceit
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