Monday, January 9, 2023

A Man of Honor

A Man of Honor
  A Man of Honor
Publication Information:  St. Martin's Press. 2021. 464 pages.
ISBN:  1250187451 / 978-1250187451

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "It was very windy on the top of the cliffs."

Favorite Quote:  "He understood he could erase the past, create a new future for himself. Who could stop him? He had the time."

Years ago, I read A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Perhaps, it was the story. Perhaps, it was the strong female lead character.  Perhaps, it the was idea of taking what happens to you and creating it into your future. Perhaps, it was the strength of the relationships. Perhaps, it was who I was as a reader at the time. No matter what the reason, that book left a lasting impression on me. The story still remains vivid in my mind.

Although that book and subsequent series was very much Emma's story, Emma's story would not be complete without Blackie - Shane Patrick Desmond O'Neill - her best friend, her life long friend.

This book - book eight in the series - is somewhat a prequel to the original. This is the first book to tell Blackie's story, beginning when he is only thirteen years old. The other books all hint at and share glimpses into the challenges Blackie faced in his life. This is the fist that proposes to go behind the jovial, intense, friend and brings to life in great detail what makes Blackie Blackie.

A Woman of Substance was Barbara Taylor Bradford's debut novel. This one is her thirty first novel. Perhaps, all other Barbara Taylor Bradford's books suffer for the impact the original left on me. This one does. 

First of all, a prequel in and of itself is a challenge because you know how it turns out. The sections of the book that are also Emma's story seems to correlate very closely to the original. Blackie's viewpoint could have been and should have been different.

Second, this book never builds to the same emotional intensity that the original did. Although about Blackie, this book seems to have many characters and story threads that don't pull together into his story. In fact, at times, they seem only tangentially related to the main character.

I do wonder if my reaction would have been different had I not read several of the books of the Harte series. A story about a young, orphaned boy who survives and thrives against the odds holds appeal. In fact, it sounds very much like a Woman of Substance ... perhaps A Man of Substance. Unfortunately, the book is part of the series and cannot be held apart and separate, at least not by me. I think I will let this one go and revert back to the Blackie and Emma of the original.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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