Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count: 60-54,000 words
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A native of Western Pennsylvania, author and playwright Mark W. Sasse has spent most of the last twenty years living in Vietnam and Malaysia teaching and writing.
For more, visit Sasse’s blog.
“’My heart sank. I dumped my father's ashes in the heart of communist Vietnam - over a thousand miles from the death of his comrades - over a thousand miles from the smile of that girl. How could I have been so stupid?’
Only the bumbling, overweight, thirtyish, stay-at-home Martin Kinney could have mistakenly flubbed his dying father's request with such gusto. This thousand mile mistake awakens the ghosts of long-held family secrets and puts Martin on a fateful course with an unlikely romantic interest - a young, beautiful, yet troubled Vietnamese woman named My Phuong.”
Beauty Rising might best be described as a “late coming of age” story. The protagonist, Martin, hasn’t managed to break away from his overbearing parents. But his father’s dying request sets him on a journey where he comes to understand both his parents better, and in the process becomes his own man.
A large part in the middle of the book takes place in Vietnam, with the different setting and culture adding spice to the story. I found this part interesting and assume, since the author’s bio indicates he’s lived in this part of the world, should be an accurate portrayal.
A small number of proofing and copy editing misses.
Rating: **** Four stars