Truffles by the Sea on Tour with CFBA

I’m not sure I really understood voice until I attended the 2005 Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, and then I learned from conferee Julie Carobini, who has since become the author of Chocolate Beach and most recently of Truffles by the Sea.

Julie and I were in a mentoring clinic together and I had the privilege of reading the opening of what would become her debut novel. I’d heard all about voice and how important it was, and I even thought I understood it, but with Julie’s work, I had a strong example of it. Not that I could really explain it, but it was unmistakable. Refreshingly unique. A little jaunty without being off-outting. It made me want to read more about that character.

Interestingly, during the editorial process, the character I was drawn to became the main character of book 2, the most recent release, Truffles by the Sea.

The story. Gabby Flores, best friend to the main character of Chocolate Beach, takes center stage in Truffles by the Sea. Although Chocolate Beach was not her story, she factored in quite prominently, and came away vowing to make some changes in her life. Not all the changes she faces, however, are of her choosing. The assistant who worked for her in her floral business robs her of all that’s worth anything, then her home burns down, and insurance? Well, not so helpful. Yet she is determined to make it on her own. Which draws attention from a certain old friend, a widower who works as a mechanic. But he’s more than meets the eye, which brings a new set of complications, as does the law suit she soon faces, the landlord of her loft she finally meets, the neighbors, her aging mother, and … Well, you get the idea. Getting back on her feet is … a challenge.

Strengths. This is a fun, fast story, highly entertaining. Truly, Gabby’s voice is one of the delights, but the story itself is interesting from beginning to end. It has romance, suspense and some surprises, tension, and wonderful scenes. I could almost feel the sand between my toes or the salt water washing over me when … Well, that would be telling. You’ll need to find out about the kayaking part of the story when you read it yourself.

Another strength in my opinion, one more important to writers, I suspect, is that the first person point of view and the present tense were so masterfully utilized they became invisible. That’s as it should be, I think. The techniques of writing should get out of the way and let the readers immerse in the story and characters. And these characters are vivid, unique, believable. They add texture to the story and some surprises as well.

Weakness. As realistic as the characters were, I sometimes had trouble remembering who was who when one of the minor characters, introduced fifty pages or so ago, popped back in. You can see, I’m really stretching to come up with something here.

I guess I’d also say I think the theme was not as strong or as significant as was the one in Chocolate Beach. Whether that was intentional or not—to make this book fit with the chick lit motif—I couldn’t say. It wasn’t a distraction at all, but something I realized as I was thinking about writing this review.

Recommendation. I highly recommend this book to women. It’s a lot of fun, a fast-paced read that will transport you to a coastal town for a weekend vacation. Enjoy! 😀

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm  Comments Off on Truffles by the Sea on Tour with CFBA  
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