The Beauty of the Fall: A Novel by Rich Marcello #LiteraryFiction @marcellor #BookReview #FridayReads

  • Author: Rich Marcello
  • Published: October 2016 by Langdon Street Press
  • Category: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Books, Reading, Book Review

Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.

I received a copy of this book from the author after seeing this guest post on Barb Taub’s blog. I’m so glad I did. Beauty of the Fall charts the incredible highs and desperate lows of Dan Underlight’s life. The downward spiral begins with the death of his ten-year old son, Zack, following his divorce from Zack’s mother. Dan blames himself for Zack’s death and immerses himself in work. The rug is pulled out from under him again when he loses his job at the company he loves, and helped to create with his good friend, Olivia. 

Dan’s life is in free fall and the only thing keeping him tethered to a semblance of reality are his visits to his therapist, Nessa. Until he meets Willow, a survivor who runs a non-profit organisation for victims of domestic violence. Their friendship develops into a deep and abiding love, although we don’t get to witness the build up of their relationship. There are quite a few significant developments in Dan’s life when this happens. I would have liked to see how Dan worked through these events initially, it helps to build a connection to the character. 

Willow helps Dan get back on track and with her support he sets out on a pilgrimage, in memory of his son and to work through a yet unformed idea he has, based on a comment made by Zack.

“You know, Dad, the world would be a better place if people talked more.”

Dan’s new enterprise, ConversationWorks, is an amazing concept with incredible potential…..and is in direct competition with Olivia and his previous company. I was drawn in to the story initially by the descriptive, rich prose and then, even more so, by the troubled and complex Dan. His is a personal and soul-searching journey with a succession of experiences, good, bad and heartbreaking but all through, the narrative explores the different and tangled layers of relationships, love, grief, betrayal and healing.

When growth stopped a year ago, for the first time, big-league adversity loomed over RadioRadio, over Olivia. The stock fell to fifty percent of its fifty-two-week high. We lost two hundred million in a quarter. Many called for her resignation, but somehow she held on. Still, the spotlight judge rocked her, made her second-guess long-standing goals and values, made her hire consultants. Like cancer, they spread through the company; like brain cancer, they crowded me out…….

I can’t ditto her hug. Billions of prickling needles freeze my arms at my sides. Am I bleeding? Don’t look down, the pinpricks have spouted and are covering the new carpet in blood.

The technology aspect is complicated but intriguing; developing software that could change the world and how people communicate. It would be an amazing way to problem solve. I wouldn’t know whether or not it was plausible, so taking it at face value I went with the flow. The story covers many important themes including domestic violence and global warming, and ways to address the problems.

Rich Marcello’s writing is incredibly eloquent and evocative, gritty and powerful. I enjoyed the structure of the story; split into parts with each chapter heading relating to specific events and/or situations.The inclusion of the poetry was inspired and even the comprehensive descriptions only drew me further in. Characters are engaging and realistic, and the relevance of the story in today’s world is marked. I love the cover, everything has a relevance, and the title with it’s multiple meanings. All in all, an excellent read. 

I chose to read and review The Beauty of the Fall based on a digital copy of the book supplied by the author/publisher.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

About Rich Marcello

Rich is a poet, an accomplished songwriter and musician, a creative writing teacher at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative, and the author of three novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and the forthcoming, The Beauty of the Fall, due out in 2016. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

The Color of Home was published in 2013 by Langdon Street Press, and melds together honest generative dialogue, poetic sensory detail, and “unforgettable characters who seem to know the complete song catalog of Lennon or Cohen.” The Big Wide Calm was published in 2014, also by Langdon Street Press. The US Review of Books stated, “Marcello’s novel has a lot going for it. Well-written, thought-provoking, and filled with flawed characters, it meets all of the basic requirements of best-of-show in the literary fiction category.” The Beauty of the Fall will be published in 2016. Faulkner Award Winner Mark Spencer commented, “Few novels are as intelligent and relevant as The Beauty of the Fall. Almost none is as eloquent, compelling, heartbreaking, and ultimately, uplifting.”

As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, aging, self-discovery. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet.

For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to a least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.

Rich lives in Massachusetts on a lake with his family and two Newfoundlands, Ani and Shaman. He is currently working on his fourth novel, The Latecomers.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter 

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Innocence by Dean Koontz #Audiobook #Fantasy #SciFi

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

Continue reading

Penrhyn Castle ~ Part 2 ~ The Setting #Photography

From its elevated vantage point, the views from Penrhyn Castle are spectacular and far reaching. From the seascape (when the tide’s in) to Llandudno Bay and the Great Orme to views over the Menai Strait and Anglesey, or inland to Snowdonia, whichever way you look there are stunning vistas.

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Afterlife by Marcus Sakey #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog @MarcusSakey **Release Day**

  • Author: Marcus Sakey
  • Published: July 2017 by Thomas & Mercer
  • Category: Thriller, Romance, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Book Review, Books, Reading

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds…and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion—a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The story opens in 1532 as Edmund killed an apprentice and took his place aboard the Persephone, sailing to the new world. Two weeks into the return voyage a violent storm lashed the ship. The cargo and all provisions were lost and the men who survived on the battered ship resorted to desperate measures to stay alive, until only Edmund was left. He died just shy of a mile from land. Continue reading

Secrets: In the Shadows Lurks the Truth by Judith Barrow #ShortStories @barrow_judith #histfic

  • Author: Judith Barrow
  • Kindle Edition published June 2017
  • Category: Short Stories, Historical, Fiction, Book Review, Books, Reading

Ashford, home of the Howarth family, is a gritty northern mill town, a community of no-nonsense Lancashire folk, who speak their minds and are quick to judge. But how many of them are hiding secrets that wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny of others?

This is a wonderful collection of short stories, focussing on characters from Judith Barrow’s Howarth family trilogy and giving a brief but heartfelt glimpse into some of their lives, pre saga. Including situations and misfortunes, some of which were brought about by the restrictions and expectations of the time, unmarried women who have no choice but to give up their baby and the cruelty meted out to a conscientious objector to name just a couple. Others which are sadly still relevant today, namely the victims of incest and rape.  Continue reading

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs #Thriller #FridayReads #Book Review

  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Published: June 2017 by Cornerstone Digital
  • Category: Thriller, Crime, Suspense, Book Review, Books, Reading

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct… 

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. 

Sunday (Sunnie) Night is a recluse with a troubled past, living on a spit of land off the coast of Charleston.  Ex military, she joined the Charleston Police Department until an injury and the prospect of a desk job ended her career in the force. When her foster father, Beau, visits with a proposition, Sunnie is initially wary, not wanting to get involved. She has spent the last few years distancing herself from people. Beau leaves her the details anyway, and after disposing of the piece of paper and a restless night Sunnie retrieves the screwed up piece of paper from the waste basket. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday ~ Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) #HistFic #NativeAmerican

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week I’m revisiting one of Zoe Saadia’s books ~ Two Rivers, the first of the Great Peacemaker series.  Continue reading

Penrhyn Castle ~ Part 1 ~ The Building #Photography

Penrhyn Castle, or country house as it was, is situated between the Menai Strait and Snowdonia and was built in the early 1800s on the site of, and incorporating parts of the original medieval fortified manor house and a later reconstruction. Thomas Hopper was the famous 19th century architect, well known for his unusual and elaborate designs. In this instance neo-Norman was decided upon.

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French Roast (The French Twist Series #4) by @GlynisAstie #Contemporary #ChickLit #TuesdayBookBlog

  • Author: Glynis Astie
  • Published: May 2017 by Tikinou Publishing
  • Category: ChickLit, Contemporary, Family, Novella, Books, Reading, Book Review

Sydney Durand, the quirky yet lovable heroine of the French Twist series, is back for one final instalment in a very special novella. 

As the wife of a gorgeous and romantic Frenchman and the mother of the most angelic boy ever, Sydney is living a life of sheer perfection. She’s gone through quite a bit to achieve this charmed life, and now nothing is going to bring her down. Or so she thinks.

French Roast rounds out the French Twist series, set a few years after the end of French Fry and Sidney is back…full on.  Becoming a mother has failed to relax the over anxiousness and her slight(ish) neurotic tendencies are still very much alive and well. Continue reading

#Spotlight ~ The Bride’s Trail (The Trail Series Bk 1) by AA Abbott #Thriller @BrookCottageBks #Extract

Perfect for fans of John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer and Ruth Rendell

Twenty grand has vanished from Shaun Halloran’s casino, and so has gorgeous blonde croupier Kat White. Once he’s tracked her down, he’ll shoot first and ask questions later.

Amy Satterthwaite’s just learned Kat stole her ID for a sham marriage. Desperate to clear her name and save her friend from Shaun, she swallows her pride and turns to arrogant Ross Pritchard for help. But can they find Kat in time?

Twists and tension keep the pages turning in A.A. Abbott’s stunning crime thriller. As Kat’s trail leads from London’s smart Fitzrovia to secret tunnels below central Birmingham, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US   Continue reading