I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

BEYOND INNOCENCE by Sunny Serafino

P.O. Box 985, Collierville, TN 38027
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Rating: Very Good - based on the quality of writing
ISBN: 1598723596, $17.95, 331 pp

This story is about a young woman, Dorothea "Thea" Fitz-Simmons, who moves to New York City in 1950 to teach music at a private school against her mother’s strong objections. Through one of the male teachers at the school she meets Edward, who cleverly manipulates her into marriage for her money. He wines and dines and ultimately convinces her to elope with him. When her famous attorney father dies, it turns out there is no estate. When she finally tells Edward, he beats her close to death. Edward goes to jail, but wants to talk with Thea before they extradite him for a previous crime. In this last meeting Thea, still bruised and broken, has her say and walks away . . . to continue her life teaching music in New York City.

There was much I could relate to in this story as I personally left home against my parents wishes when I was eighteen in 1959 and took a bus to Los Angeles, where I knew no one. Somehow, I found Jackie’s boarding house at Hobart and Wilshire (food and shelter for $20/week) and froze in place when a four-foot tall man opened the door. I gathered up my courage, rented a room and soon found a job ($300/month) within walking distance. Also, the relationship between my father and me grew deeper in a similar manner to Thea’s.

Even though I could relate to the situation and the problems, my feelings while reading were . . . it’s all so typical. Plus, I couldn’t buy into the idea that Thea’s marital problem was the result of her naivety. If such an "Edward" were to come into my life now (with all my experience) and treated me as he did Thea, I probably would elope with him, too. And then there is the question: how will she know the difference when she wants to trust another man?

Sunny Serafino is an excellent writer, and Beyond Innocence is well-written and well-edited. Just because the plot didn’t grab me, doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to you. We all have different tastes in what we like to read. When I finish a book, I like to feel that I learned something, that I experienced something through the book that I could not have otherwise, that the book moved me spontaneously to laughter and/or tears and that the style and quality of writing deliciously titillated my mind--a big order to fill.

Sunny Serafino is an award-winning novelist who currently lives in Avon Park, Florida. Other novels by Sunny include: Secrets; Echoes, Nobody’s Child, and Pure Gold. Following Daddy is her only nonfiction work.

Reviewed by Kaye Trout - August 13, 2006


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