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Spinning Forward (Cedar Key) Paperback – November 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
DuLong's debut reads like an unintentional parody of Southern hen lit. After 52-year-old Sydney Webster's husband dies in a car accident, she discovers he was a compulsive gambler, and his habits have left her penniless. She heads to Cedar Key, Fla., where best friend Alison takes her in. Sydney decides to open a knitting shop in Cedar Key and meets a gorgeous artist named Noah, who falls in love with her. Adding to the nonurgency is Sydney's decision to search for her biological birth mother; conveniently, Sydney looks a lot like 80-something local spinster Sybile Bowden. The narrative lacks tension and originality, and its banal predictability won't do it any favors in a crowded field. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Born and raised north of Boston, Terri DuLong was a previous resident of Cedar Key, Florida. She now resides on the east coast of the state in Ormond Beach with her husband, three dogs and two cats. A retired Registered Nurse, she began her writing career as a contributing writer for Bonjour Paris, where she shared her travel experiences to France in over forty articles with a fictional canine narrator. Terri’s love of knitting provides quiet time to develop her characters and plots as she works on her new Ormond Beach novels. You can visit her website at www.terridulong.com or at her Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/TerriDuLongAuthor.
Top customer reviews
Second, the premise is utterly unbelievable. Sydney opens a shop on a whim after worrying for several pages about her financial instability. She has no trouble getting a loan (if her husband handled all of their finances in his name alone, and she has not had a job in twenty-plus years, why would a bank give her a loan to open a business for which she has absolutely no plan?). She lackadaisically begins a search for her birth-mother, only to discover that (of all the coincidences in all the world!) her birth-mother just so happens to live on the same small island! The foreshadowing about this "reveal" is over-the-top; it is apparent from Sybile's first mention that she is Sydney's mother, yet it takes Sydney ages to figure it out. (Same with her birth father... and that Noah likes her...) It seems like DuLong is trying to pull of a Elizabeth-and-Mr.Darcy scenario with Sydney and Noah, but the relationship falls flat--mostly because Sydney is poorly developed and it becomes increasingly difficult to root for her.
Finally, the book is just horribly written. DuLong begins nearly every sentence with awkward clauses, and there are several misplaced modifiers throughout the text.
"Walking into the kitchen, I slammed my knitting bad onto the table. Reaching into the fridge, I removed a bottle of chardonnay and poured a glass. Taking the wine, I plunked into the bedroom chair, sprawling my legs onto the edge of the bed. Letting out a burst of air between my lips, I gripped the stem of the wineglass." (Loc. 3634-36)
"Wearing white eyelet capris and a lemon-yellow top, her hair was held back with a lime-green scarf." (Loc. 2887-88)
There are also consistency errors: the time of her birth, for example, which other reviewers have already pointed out); and the issue of her website, which she sets up shortly after opening her shop, and then again a few months later. (I understand that her computer crashed, but that would not effect a website that exists in cyberspace!)
I also struggled with the dialogue. Many of the conversations were used to explain or advance the plot, and they were overly formal and unrealistic. For example, why would Sydney say "When the autopsy revealed a massive coronary had caused the accident" instead of "when I found out what happened..." ??? Sydney would have no need to explain the circumstances of her husband's death to Allison, who would have been quite familiar with the details by the time this conversation took place.
If you enjoy a well-thought out plot with an intriguing or interesting storyline, I suggest that you skip over this tedious, predictable offering. I must admit that I was only able to get through about 70% of the novel. I didn't see any point in boring myself any longer to try to get to an ending I no longer cared anything about.
Even though the entire story was told from the viewpoint of the main character, Sydney, I was still able to ascertain every event prior to it happening, with the notable exception of some idiotic things that had no bearing in real life. For instance, Sydney, being adopted as a baby, decides to start searching for her birth mother. From her own observations and some dialogue with others, it is obvious who her mother is, yet she takes months to figure it out. I won't even go into the absurd coincidence of her finding her mother on a small island with minimal population that is nowhere near where she was born.
Sydney decides to start a rather intriguing business of weaving animal fur. Even though her business set up was unrealistic, even to the point of ending up with an unpaid employee, the concept was interesting. At one point, Sydney's brand new computer breaks down. It never seems to occur to her to call the company, or a computer repair person, or even to return it under warranty. She also rents a newly built building for her business, which seemed rather extravagant and unnecessary for a starter business of that type.
The `romance' portion of the storyline was unrealistic and without any real spark. It especially surprised me when Sydney was showing interest in men only two months after her husband passed away. It's not as if they had a bad marriage, or her husband had been abusive. As a matter of fact, it appeared that her husband went to great lengths to keep up her in the lifestyle she was accustomed to by hiding his gambling addiction. Now, I'm not saying that he should be commended for that by any means, just that she seemed to have wiped out twenty years of a good marriage in her mind because of the gambling problem she discovered after he died. Had he died in the arms of another woman or something like that, it would have been more believable.
Overall, the storyline dragged out interminably, with very little of interest occuring.
Character Development: 1 Star
Sydney was not just naive, but she was also rather stupid. She left everything up to her husband before he died, which cost her everything. After his death, she doesn't seem capable of even taking care of herself. She makes bad decisions on the spur-of-the moment and, at times, is just plain rude to the man she is attracted to, for no apparent reason. She was unlikeable and unbelievable, earning no empathy at all.
The other characters are just cardboard cut-outs with no depth or dimensions.
Writing Style: 3 Stars
The writing style was simplistic to the point of almost making this book sound like a Young Adult novel. The dialogue was stilted and too formal for the setting. The descritpions were good, though.
Editing/Formatting: 5 Stars
Both were of professional quality.
Rating: PG for Adult References