Barbara Stahl is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and retired school library media specialist, who is a devoted western New Yorker. She loves her family, circle of friends, reading, history, music, theater, and cat Tarzan. Her “Lucky to be Here” bi-weekly column appeared in the Canandaigua Daily Messenger. Barbara is the author Aviaries of Sonnenberg and other historical collections.
(Barb is also a dear friend and member of the Book Club I love so dearly! She’s one of the most discerning readers I know so when you read how she was nervous to read my novel, you’ll know I was more nervous than I! See what she said – so very kindly – about Come Back below.)
‘To all book club members reading this…wouldn’t you love to have one of your members write a book? Don’t we book club folks fantasize that we know an author – a real living, breathing author? Well, I am pleased to announce that our book club can boast that author Sally Crosiar is one of ours. And we can further boast that she has written a really good, readable, interesting, exciting novel. (No, I don’t think I exaggerated at all!)
I confess I was very nervous to read it. What if I didn’t like it? What if I found lots of errors? As an avid reader and retired librarian, I can be highly critical of books so no wonder I was worried. Of course. I believe that my critiques are educationally based and literally sound. Luckily, I really did like it…whew!
A favorite book for me is one that allows the reader ‘inside the heads’ of the characters. Sally Crosiar has accomplished this and much more in her debut novel, Come Back. This brilliantly executed story moves forward through several different eyes. That technique works perfectly as each character adds another layer from his or her point of view. Tension builds as the reader realizes that there is a secret; something terrible happened ten years ago when Victoria left town abruptly at age seventeen. During most of those ten years, no one in the small town of Freedom, Iowa, knew where she was until she became a popular star. Consequently, she returns to Freedom as ‘the girl who made good,’ but people still puzzle as to why she left.
A special aunt’s birthday celebration is what finally brings Vi back to Freedom, and the story unfolds. The reader soon learns of regrets, people who were hurt by her leaving, misunderstandings, cover-ups and secrets kept.
Throughout there are cleverly designed word pictures. The author treats sexuality honestly without gratuitous flagrancy. Things I look for in novels that are well done in this one are: believable characters who are not all good nor all bad, interesting use of language, excitement to learn ‘what happened,’ emotional involvement, and that the length is totally appropriate for the story. For so many books, my criticism is that the book could have been cut by a one third and be a much stronger piece.
The author succeeded in all of the above. The book can be purchased at Amazon. Hopefully, libraries will begin to add it to their collections. Hopefully, too, Sally’s book will join the many excellent books have recently read that were debut novels and that her sales soar. Happy reading, and good luck Sally!’