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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

Disclosure: I received this Kindle version book on an author giveaway day.

Honestly, have you every let something sit on the shelf too long? That is what happened here. I wish I would have read it right away. I usually have an email back up to let me know how I received a book. This time, I only had the tags (shelves on GoodReads) that I set up when I got it. So this review isn't timely. Sorry.

I have a problem reading contemporary books. They are too real. I like to read to escape everyday situations like family dysfunction and death and how those two problems play out in real life. And though this book is well-written, this is what jumped out at me: dysfunctional, rich family with high expectations. Throw into that a gay son, another son who would rather pursue his art, who won't be following into law school, who has diabetes (type 1)... bossy oldest brother... Real life. I suppose if you are living in an enchanted land this would be the story for you. For me? Depressing.

The author, Conchie Fernandez, has made the kind of book you don't want to put down. You want to see what will happen. You want to see if there are any redeemable moments for any of the characters. So I would guess that it is hope that drives the book. Ms. Fernandez's characters are realistic. Her research seems strong yet subdued. It is a quick read and inspires me want to paint.

As I said before if you are escaping reality, death, cussing, etc. this isn't for you. If you want to read good writing, great characters, enjoy!
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on April 8, 2015
Very well written. Great plot. Great characters. The first half of the book captured me with the current-day conflict, but hinted about a very complex past. Then, the next 1/4 brought the reader up to speed on the past, while still moving along the current day rising action. The last 1/4 of the book build up the ending & resolution. For a book that is almost all build-up, I think the ending could use a little improvement. A bunch of the details surrounding the ending just seemed too forced to me in order to wrap the book up. If the ending was improved & the build-up was modified slightly I think this would a top 5% book for me. As it is, it's very very good, but kind of forgettable.... I enjoyed the read, but if I'm talking books with a friend even 2 weeks from now, I doubt I'll recall this book. I like Conchie Fernandez, and would 100% buy her next book.
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on March 16, 2011
Undrawn is about a man who wants to live his own life, not the life his rich father wants him to live, to be a lawyer and follow in the family business. Although Kyle has diabetes, he doesn't let that get in his way of wanting to be an artist and to live his own life away from the family home in Boston. He falls in love with another artist and follows her to Chicago where he becomes a famous artist in his own right.

Ms Fernandez gets down deep within the recesses of her main character's mind where we see him fight with himself of what is expected of him and what he wants to do. As a reader, I can sympathize and empathize with his feelings about his childhood, growing up under his father's notion of what he wants his child to be and not what the child wants to be. We can feel Kyle's hurt, his pain, his love, his losses, his dreams and his torturing himself over the eventual loss of his father and how they did not get along while Kyle lived in the family home. We can see Kyle slowly change from a shy, introverted young boy/man to someone who knows he needed to change and does something about it. Her characters are ones you love to hate -- Kyle's brother Stuart and his son, Chad; to ones you love to love -- Kyle's younger brother, Troy and Stuart's daughter, Jeannie. I like the way Kyle thinks and reflects. He is a very likable and believable character. I can see the places in my mind as well as the paintings, the colors in the paintings,
what the characters felt.

Ms. Fernandez's first novel has my 5 star rating and I recommend reading it.
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on March 24, 2013
I loved the story of this flawed personality. I especially enjoyed how the author didn't spell everything out but let the allusions become clear in a very natural way over the course of the book. The only question mark in my mind (reinforced by a review from someone who has diabetes) was whether someone who had childhood diabetes from a young age would be able to function as well as he did while not following his regimen. That seemed a bit unlikely to me.
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on April 6, 2013
This is a character-driven novel. I loved the love of art that it portrayed and the relationship of the artist to his/her materials and content. I liked having a diabetic as the main character and the way the novel brought out the intricacies of family bonds and the sometimes difficult relationship that one can have with oneself. And how all this in turn influences the way in which we interact with others. I would highly recommend this!
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on January 19, 2016
A plausible plot, realistically conceived characters, brilliantly written. I don't have much time to read, but this demanded my attention from the moment I picked it up.
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on September 7, 2011
Conchie Fernandez's novel, Undrawn, offers that Indy-e-Pub rarity, a well-written, expertly edited, bona fide page-turner. Readers who appreciate getting lost in a Dominic Dunne-esque gilded universe populated by the uber-rich and politically powerful--and who relish witnessing its hidden, corrosive underside--will take to Fernandez's convincingly rendered drama of the dynastic Reed family. Boston Brahmans and American oligarchs, Reed family connections, we soon learn (thanks to the author's talent for telling detail), reach all the way to the United States Senate.

Fernandez skillfully anchors her story in a fully fleshed protagonist who gets the story off and running from page one. Artist and Reed family black sheep, Kyle Davidson Reed is presented as a man who at nearly forty remains haunted by a string of youthful disasters (a mélange of failed and abusive relationships, substance abuse, brushes with the law)--as well as chronic illness, and long-standing familial alienation. Summoned home after a four-year absence by the terminal illness of the family patriarch, ex-Senator, Brandon Whitman Reed, any hope Kyle harbors for reconciliation with his father is quickly dashed by the senior Reed's demise. In short order, Kyle finds himself embroiled anew in a long-standing bitter conflict with older brother and heir-apparent to the Reed family legacy, Senator Stuart Reed.

As rendered by Fernandez, Kyle Reed hangs by reason of self-disgust on a cross from which no amount of professional success as an artist can save him (that Fernandez exploits the crucifixion motive more than once in her characters' paintings seems a forgivable cliché). What Fernandez manages to portray without cliché or heavy-handedness is a man in self-imposed exile--a man who stands apart from those ready and willing to help end his suffering. These include Troy, his gay brother, niece Jeannie, and love-interest, Shorty--a woman whose relentless efforts at intimacy Kyle seems determined to resist. That this cast of supporting characters arrives on the page fully alive is a testament to Fernandez's talent. Likewise, that she is able to orchestrate a satisfyingly self-redemptive resolution to Kyle's story underscores her expertise as a storyteller and (barring a short stretch of summary in the last quarter of the novel) her mastery of technique.

Sit down with Conchie Fernandez's Undrawn and you may be surprised, as was this reader, at how quickly the hours fly.

Jack Andrew Urquhart is the author of the inter-connected story collection, So They Say. Irises, Purple Irises (So They Say) Follow him on Twitter @JackAUrquhart
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on July 4, 2017
Wish I could see his paintings, designs and the places. The writing is delicious, paintings with words. Gotta taste it.
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on June 20, 2015
The story of Kyle and his family dynamic was interesting. I know the story of Corrine was important to the overall story, but it was confusing. Well written overall. I liked the back and forth in time... Past Nd current. Overall a good quick read.
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on January 9, 2012
The novel centers on Kyle who is 36 and a successful painter. His father, who he hates, is dying and Kyle has to decide whether to go back to say goodbye. Kyle is close to his younger brother Troy, but also has a strained relationship with his other brother Stuart who is, like his father before him, a Senator. This is a book about dysfunctional families and the enormous amount of emotional damage they can bring. The writing is wonderful, the pace is pitch perfect, and the characters are rich and convincing. It is an incredibly engaging story and I recommend it highly. This is Ms. Fernandez first novel and she published it herself. At the time of this writing almost all of the reviewers on Amazon gave it 5 stars. Unfortunately, because it is self-published not many people know about it. So I do hope everyone who reads this review will help spread the word.
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