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A Lovely, Indecent Departure [Kindle Edition]

Steven Lee Gilbert
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $10.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the riveting and emotionally-charged debut from a promising new voice in literary thrillers, and a captivating story of a mother's love and desperation set amidst the heart wrenching landscape of child custody.

Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver to his father, she abducts the five year old and flees to Italy where with her family's help they disappear into the fabric of her native homeland. Told in prose that is both stripped-down and overpowering, Gilbert shapes the everyday conflict of child custody into a stunning search for sense of worth. Standing in the young woman's way is Evan Meade, the boy's guileful and mean-spirited father, who hires a private investigator when the efforts of the embattled local sheriff, Monroe Rossi, fail to track them down. But as the investigation draws them all closer to Anna, Evan's true nature betrays itself and the question of what's in the child's best interest becomes not so clear anymore.

Objectively detailed, in a voice that refuses to intrude on the minds of its characters, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, captures in stark detail a world in which modern archetypes are turned upside down and shows what an extraordinary splash Steven Lee Gilbert has made with his first novel.

Editorial Reviews


"The well-crafted plot is meted out at a steady pace, continually feeding readers' need to know and simultaneously whetting the appetite for more."--Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting...perfect for any kind of literary escape."--The Wake Weekly

"A Lovely, Indecent Departure is a choice and much recommended addition to general fiction collections."--Midwest Book Review

"Gilbert has written a masterful debut."-- Sandy Kirkland, Booksie's Blog

"The quality in this book is a perfect example of Indie authors being able to hold their own in regards to larger publishing house authors and that those readers who dismiss Indie authors are truly missing out."--Naomi Blackburn, Founder Sisterhood of the Traveling Book

" unassuming work, one that doesn't seek to draw you in with cheap gimmicks and plot tricks. It presents itself as it is, quiet, steady, and ultimately charming."--Shannon Fox, Isle of Books

From the Author

Author Awards
2007 Emerging Artist Grant for Literature, Durham Arts Council
Thank you for visiting my Amazon Author Page and for considering my book, A Lovely, Indecent Departure. Writing it was a process that covered several years, during which the manuscript underwent many, many drafts and required much patience on the part of myself as the writer, as well as my wife and family.

When in 2007, with their support, I chose to pursue writing full time, I had no real idea of what I was getting myself into. I only knew I wanted to write. Such an endeavor is not without risk and in the months leading up to my leaving my day job, we adjusted our lifestyle and saved what we could to afford me this opportunity. My wife and I talked to our children about doing with less and showed them through example the importance of following one's dream. Even when chronic illness threatened to derail the plan, we helped them to understand that dreams require sacrifice, a life lesson, we hope, they espouse themselves as adults.

 Please visit my website to learn more about this journey, and thanks again for stopping by.

Product Details

  • File Size: 390 KB
  • Print Length: 282 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MQN99Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,534 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Really Fantastic Book! March 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
4.5 Stars out of 5: A family drama written in the style of a crime thriller which satisfies emotionally and examines complex themes with broad perspective. A fast-paced but thorough look into the nature of divorce and its effects on parents and children, with some great descriptions of Italy, which all combine in a well-balanced novel and deserving winner of an Emerging Artist Grant for literature.

Check out The Unbound Underground profile to find the full review!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveted Until The Last Page August 15, 2012
By Mandy
A Lovely, Indecent Departure is the gripping story of one mother's love for her son. When Anna loses custody of her son, Oliver, she gives up everything she knows and goes into hiding with him. Fleeing to Italy, Oliver and Anna start over, with the help of Anna's extended family. Unfortunately, Evan, Oliver's father, is one step behind them, and with the help of a private investigator, soon tracks them down. This is a fast-paced story that brings up a lot of questions regarding ethics and parenting.

This novel brings together many genres, effortlessly. Merging crime, family drama, action, chic-lit, and intoxicating landscapes, A Lovely, Indecent Departure is captivating. While, at first, we aren't made fully aware of the reasons for Anna's choices, it becomes increasingly clear what her motives are, and Evan does not fail us in the role of the antagonist. While this type of story has been done before, Mr. Gilbert manages to draw us into his characters' perspectives in a fresh way. No matter what side of the custody battle you identify with, you will be riveted to the very last page.

(Review written by Charlene, a Literary R&R book review blog team member)
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A tedious read with lifeless characters September 3, 2012
Steven Lee Gilbert writes with conviction and purpose in his debut novel, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, but he has everything all wrong. The novel plods along slowly and tediously, and Gilbert's decision not to let the reader into the minds of his characters makes the story lifeless as well. Because the reader doesn't know what's going on inside their heads, the characters are more like empty vessels than human beings, awaiting direction from the author. When Gilbert makes them do something shocking, I don't feel he's earned it, because the plot leading up to that moment gives no indication the character was capable of such action. The novel wants to be morally ambiguous as well, but even here it fails. In order to achieve this goal would have required greater insight into the situation and into the motivations of its characters. Failing to provide such information, the novel ends up being morally disturbing instead.

The plot seems intriguing at first. Anna, a divorced mother, decides to abduct her son, Oliver, who was given custody to his father, Evan. Anna gets to see Oliver on weekends, but Evan does everything he can to ensure she seems him for as little time as possible. On this particularly weekend, Evan demands that Anna bring Oliver back four hours earlier than she has him for, but Anna has other plans.

It's clear that we're supposed to cheer for Anna and view Evan as the bad guy. The problem is, Gilbert fails to provide any proof that Evan is a bad guy until some plot developments towards the end that are not earned. That the sheriff and a private investigator suspect Evan is to blame for his wife's actions makes the reader more sympathetic to him. These characters seem convinced that Evan is a monster, but nothing convincing suggests that he is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Gem! April 12, 2012
By Emily
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anna is a divorced mother whose ex-husband, Evan, has custody of their son. As Evan cruelly cuts off Anna from their son, she has to decide to continue fighting through the system or abscond with her son to her native Italy. As they live in secret, Anna faces many dilemmas: What is best for her son? What is best for her? Are they the same? How do you balance safety in the future with the need to be connected to the past? As the authorities get closer, Anna must determine what to do -- once you've committed one of the most desperate of acts, what's next?

It is always a pleasure to find a book that is well-edited, quick-paced, and an interesting story. A Lovely, Indecent Departure is a one of those rare finds. The characters are wonderfully complex and the story drew me in right away.

Written in a more literary style than most indie books, its many themes and shades of gray would make A Lovely, Indecent Departure a great book club / discussion book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Debut Novel September 4, 2012
Anna had to leave. Caught in a marriage with a man who needed to control her every move, she left for her sanity. But she never meant to leave Oliver, her five year old son. When Evan, her ex-husband, tries to manipulate her through Oliver, making her joint custody more and and more difficult, she makes a momentous decision.

Since Anna has joint citizenship with both the United States and Italy, she is able to take Oliver and flee overseas. She leaves everything else behind; job, house, family, friends. Her remote relatives, most of whom she hasn't seen since she was a small girl, help her to get reestablished in Florence. But can Evan ever concede failure in what he regards as a battle to establish his rightful dominance?

Evan enlists the big guns. He goes to the police, for Anna has indeed committed a crime, kidnapping. He goes to the press to make sure his side of the story is the one that gets told. Finally, after months with no results, he hires a private investigator to locate Anna and kidnap Oliver back. Evan's single focus brings the rest of his world into jeopardy; his job and marriage soon show the cracks of his obsession.

Steven Gilbert has written a masterful debut novel. The reader can empathize with each character in turn and the motives that drive their actions. The writing is crisp and spare, yet portrays each side of this situation; mother, father, law enforcement, family and friends, fully. Gilbert lives in the Piedmont region of NC. In 2007 he was the recipient of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant for Literature. A Lovely, Indecent Departure is recommended for all readers interested in a compelling story and excellent character portrayal.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, made me think
I like this book and felt that story was well written and kept me engaged to see what each next page offered. Read more
Published 6 days ago by TINKERBELL2K
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Loved this book. Initially dissatisfied with
the nebulous ending, but much subsequent
reflection led to a decision on my part that
It added to the sweetness and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by TERRY F. MULLEN
3.0 out of 5 stars quotation marks?????
The plot was good, however I almost didn't read it. There are no quotation marks. You can't tell when people are talking or thinking, you can't follow a conversation. Read more
Published 8 months ago by chadams
4.0 out of 5 stars Odd
Gilbert has written a pretty good book, so far a TGR (thumping good read), but something was niggling me as I was reading this last night. Then it hit me. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Fascinating until the last page..........a book you think about
long after you have finished it. Steve..... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Margie Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete
This story leaves too much unexplained. Also, there are too many run-on sentences that make it confusing to read. Quotation marks around dialogue would be great, too.
Published 19 months ago by linda k
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring plodding plotline
Interesting parts spaced so far apart as to make them anticlimatic. Full of filler dialogue that did not advance the story. Many parts of the plot and characters left unresolved. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Fern Logan
4.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable read
I much enjoyed this book, characters are well-defined, and I like the way each one is shown from the individual perspective of how they each fit separately into the overall plot,... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Kim
1.0 out of 5 stars disenchanted
This is the first time I've ever written a negative review, but this book can be described with one word: dreadful. Read more
Published 22 months ago by A. Gift For You
3.0 out of 5 stars No so good
This was ok, at the end the author does not let you know what happened. What happened to Oliver's dad, who knows. When I read a book I do not want to guess at the ending. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kindle Customer
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More About the Author

When Steve was fourteen years old he lived in a log cabin by a small creek next to some woods and dreamt of becoming a Forest Ranger. He loved the outdoors and the wild so much it was easy for him to envision a future dedicated to its conservation. Then one day a mindful English teacher suggested he enter an essay contest about protecting our natural resources. He did and won and because of this sign of some hint of a talent, along with the lasting effect of having been recognized for something, from that moment forward his plans changed and he set forth to become a writer, which turned out to be a long and windy road, but one he considered necessary to not become also dull and unimaginative. Along the way he learned a great deal about life and himself and discovered many good subjects to write about, none of which include nature or protecting the environment. But as he said upon his receipt of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant for Literature, "You just never can guess what the future may hold." He is the author of the novel, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, and has served on the faculty of the YTWW since 2007, every year of which reminds him of his old English teacher and the promise of young, passionate talent.

You can read more about him at


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