It’s fascinating for me to read the reviews of my books. It’s heart-warming to hear readers supportive comments and sometimes surprising to learn of the aspects of the book that people particularly appreciated. I reread all the published reviews to pick out themes, of which there are several.
“…a wonderfully well-researched book”
“…rich in authentic detail”
If you write historical fiction, it helps to be intrigued by history as you’re likely to need to spend a good deal of time exploring your chosen time period. To make a story come to life in an era long past, it’s critical to get the characteristics of the time right, down to such details as the length of phone numbers, the popular names for children, and the food served for dinner. I loved writing about the 1950’s, as I remembered a good bit of these details from my childhood, but I needed to find out about the political background of that time, which had gone way over my head. Readers think I got it right.
Relevant to today
“Readers who think history has little in common with seemingly different current events will find Chasing the American Dream a powerful commentary on the links between historical precedent and modern-day affairs.”
“While the novel’s excellent details will make you feel you’re in 1950’s Cleveland, the topics feel totally current—cancel culture, over-the-top press coverage, and government conspiracies.”
“Given the current political climate, with ‘neo-Nazi’ groups exercising public spaces, this novel is extremely relevant, as is the question of accountability for crimes committed in the past.”
While I was writing this book, I was astonished to learn the depth of government secrecy. This came out as lies in Senator McCarthy’s accusations of individuals having communist leanings with little or no evidence. And in the agreement among government officials that they should cover up their actions with regard to bringing German scientists to the U.S. after World War II. Though I wrote this book well before the 2020 election, its relevance to the growing questions of the degree of appropriate government transparency and the role of the press in informing the American public holds today as well. It’s a handy serendipity that has lured readers into the story.
Blends social issues with personal strife
“The characters suffer adversity that can only be overcome by an examination of both the problems with societal norms and their own ambitions and ethical expectations.”
“An intriguing story that starts with war, but quickly moves into the personal story of a man… The family drama, in turn, morphs into courtroom suspense that sheds light on post-WWII America’s conflicted morality.”
Books on writing frequently talk about how to enrich stories, encouraging writers to build from a single linear idea to a broader, rounder story. I found it fulfilling to spin this tale interweaving the different levels, both because it made for a bigger story and made me think about the larger societal issues. I’m glad it also started readers thinking more about our politics!
“A compelling story about competing commitments.”
“David’s decisions and actions had me so tense, I could hardly get to sleep.”
“Brilliantly written and very harrowing.”
One of the end goals for me as a novelist is to have people say the story was “compelling.” It’s my hope to keep people up at night because they simply must find out what happens to the characters. Thanks to all of you who enjoyed it enough to lose a little sleep!
To all you MEMBERS OF BOOK CLUBS:
I will give one free book to every club that decides
To invite me to talk (via Zoom or in person) about
Chasing the American Dream!
Send me an email through my website, and we’ll set a date.