Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Literary Fiction/ Contemporary/ Ghost Story
Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words
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“Karen S. Bell continues to be in awe of the magical and wondrous phenomenon called life. As an observer and obvious participant in feminine values and approach to our human challenges, she brings this perspective to her work. Fascinated by the mysteries of the unseen forces that perhaps play a role in guiding our choices, she continues to search for answers in the mundane as well as in the cosmic forces that surround us. She is working on her third novel and lives in Ponte Vedra, Fl. with her husband and their two furry kids.”
“Sunspots is personal. A personal journey of grieving, a personal journey of self-discovery, and a personal journey geographically. A young woman from Brooklyn, Aurora, a man from Austin, Texas, Jake, meet accidentally in NYC and it changes the trajectory of their lives...But after the honeymoon, reality sets in and she realizes that marriage can be isolating, and that the socio-economic differences between her and Jake can become a wedge... Fast forward two years, and Aurora finds herself a widow... And then her journey becomes one of accepting the harsh reality of encounters with Jake's ghost… Viola, a ghost who has a connection with Aurora's past, leads her [through these episodes not of this world]... Sometimes from the ashes, sometimes from blackness awaits the brilliant light of a life of happiness.”
This book was a tough one for me to get through. I am not a lover of literary fiction. It often seems like pretentious drivel to me. This style uses way too many descriptive words to make a point or get the message across. Plus there is never really any plot to speak of, just days in the life of... Sunspots was like this for me. It was all I could do to pick the book back up again each day, up until the last ten or fifteen percent of the book when the story actually started moving forward.
I understood that Aurora had aspirations to be an actress of stage and film who related events of her life to them. However in telling her story Ms. Bell made numerous references to actors, television soap operas, movie titles, and other famous literary works (ancient to contemporary) throughout this story. It starts off pretty innocuous but becomes overkill after a while with overusage numbing my brain and actually causing my eyes to roll. Honestly, I felt like Ms. Bell's descriptive prose was skilled enough to manage the scenes without using the pop-culture and literary references so much.
Underneath all the pompous blather there is a good story here. Beyond all the Gothic reverie, depression, and malignant obsession Aurora is going through, you would be challenged to find a more flawed character. There is a positive message of being able to make it beyond the darkness of your life. If you can manage to stick with the story through all the time hopping as she remembers, relives, and tries to reorganize her life to see it through to the end.
If you enjoy Literary Fiction about women’s issues, Aurora's journey is a unique one that you may enjoy. This book just wasn't for me, the ghosts pulled me in, but they weren't enough to satisfy me.
I found no significant errors in editing or formatting.
Rating: *** Three stars