Reviews of the first chapters submitted to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The reviews are by ABNA Expert Reviewers.
What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?
I thoroughly enjoyedthis excerpt. Charles is a conflicted man, a flawed hero, and the author nimblyrenders the inner conflict regarding his seduction of Hilde and his pride inthe resultant paternity, as well as his lovelorn abjection. Characterdevelopment is pitch-perfect. The narrative tension is growing steadily. Thepace and rhythm is lyrical, and the local color/environment is vivid. Thisauthor knows how to write an entertaining and substantial narrative.
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?
I was hooked from the first page by the writingand by the character of Charles. The author pays attention to detail and localcolor, creating an environment of dimensional characters and conflicts. Theprose is muscular and the mood and tone are spot-on. Moreover, I was intriguedby secondary characters, for example the obese Benjamin, who fears thepotential violence of his father. There is nuanced foreshadowing here. Theauthor is also portraying the prejudices of South Africa with subtlety. I wouldcertainly want to read the rest of this story.
About the Author
Jan Hurst-Nicholson lives in sunny South Africa where she is personal chef to an elderly picky cat, and doorman to two dogs who are forever on the wrong side of a door. The dogs sit beside her as she works. The cat sleeps on the work. She has been writing for about 30 years. Her articles, humorous articles and short stories have appeared in South African and overseas magazines and these were compiled into a book: "Something to Read on the Plane - a bit of light literature, short stories & other fun stuff," and "I Made These Up (short stories for the fireside)" Her first children’s book was "Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs" and was one of Bookchat’s 1993 South African Books of the Year. This was followed by "Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse" which was selected as one of the 2013 Kart Kids Book Award winners. ‘Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the bottled bat’ is awaiting publication. These are humorous, animal, detective stories set in a nature reserve. "Bheki and the Magic Light", which tells of a rural child’s fascination with a torch, was published by Penguin SA and is now also available as an e-book. ‘Jake,’ was published by Cambridge University Press. Born in the UK, Jan emigrated from Liverpool to South Africa in the 1970s. Her experiences moving to a new continent were the inspiration for her humorous novel, "But Can You Drink The Water?", which was a semi-finalist (top 50 out of 5000) in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Jan worked in the R&D department of a large bakery for several years, and this gave her the inspiration for "The Breadwinners" a family saga spanning 60 years and set in Durban. Jan has also written a YA/teen novel, "Mystery at Ocean Drive" which was a runner-up in the 2010 Citizen/Pan MacMillan YA novel award, and is now available as an e-book on Amazon. Jan’s latest novel is "With the Headmaster's Approval" a contemporary romance. Jan’s writing also appears in Edge Words (20 stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006) published by University of Chester, Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Soul 101 best stories On Being a Parent; Summer Shorts, and My Funny Major Medical .