Friday, February 14, 2014

Stealing Fire / Susan Sloate

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Approximate word count: 115-120,000 words

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Author of Stealing Fire (#2 Amazon bestseller and Quarter-Finalist in 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest), co-author of Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary and Realizing You. An edition of Forward to Camelot, a time-travel thriller, was a finalist in 3 book competitions: 2004 IPPY Awards, 2004 Arizona Authors Assn. Literary Competition and 2008 Beach Read Competition. It was also a #6 Amazon bestseller in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, optioned in 2005 by Fast Carrier Pictures for film. Also author of 17 published young-adult books (fiction and non-fiction, sports, biography, romance, etc), which includes Silver Medal/2007 Children's Moonbeam Awards, for Ray Charles: Find Another Way! from Bearport Publishing.


Set in the 1980s against a backdrop of the New York musical theater, this tale follows the meeting and subsequent romance between Amanda, mid-twenties wannabe singer, and Beau, a once successful lyricist who just turned sixty.


This was a mixed bag for me. I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in the musical business, both in LA where Beau resided, and also in New York. The plot delivered a strong sense of presence in both arenas. Amanda was an engaging character, and the juxtaposition between the young singer’s dreams of success, and the older Beau with his experience, worked like a charm.

The author pulled off a complicated feat because she made me believe these two were in love—deep, infatuated love, despite the age difference. This was more impressive because many of their early interactions were conducted over the phone. In fact, I gobbled up the first two thirds of this story and couldn’t wait for more.

But, once the relationship hit the inevitable speed-bump and the main characters separated to sort through their personal angst, the magic left the words for me. The story changed into a heavy narrative where I was told what they were both doing and thinking, and much of that seemed repetitive. Also, the point of view slipped around a lot. Interestingly, this didn’t bother me much while I was engaged with the story, but once my attention slipped, it became a further distraction. .

I guess, a bit like Amanda and Beau’s romance, once the lovers separated, the chemistry disappeared. The ending was satisfying, but, for me, not enough to make up for the slowdown in the last third of the book.

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to mention.

Rating: *** Three stars

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