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Winter Songs (Volume 1) Paperback – November 4, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Ronald Paxton was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He and his wife moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1995. Ronald is retired from a career in the financial services industry and has been writing seriously for the last five years. His short stories have been widely published across the Internet. Ronald's writing is character driven with a strong sense of setting. "Winter Songs" is his first novel. He has recently completed his second novel, "Haven." In addition to his writing, Ronald is an avid reader, runner, and beachcomber.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Winter Songs, by Ronald Paxton, Look Back Mountain "was a mystical place. The serenity of the mountain was pure and absolute, and in the winter it was a refuge of perfect stillness. John Howard and his daughter Emma would listen to the quiet as they awaited the spectacular Shenandoah County sunrise. The wind would rise and fall, whistling a musical medley. Winter songs."
The beautiful winter songs are interrupted by a grotesque ugliness.
With the ink still wet on her veterinary science diploma, Emma Howard accepts her first job as a veterinarian in her hometown. Her boyfriend Chase, also a new vet, accepts a job at a different animal clinic near the same town.
Chase is handsome and sweet. When he and Emma cooked dinner for her parents, he wanted to compliment Emma's mother Sarah Jane by cooking some of her recipes. He ended up with meatloaf, tuna casserole, potato salad, sweet potatoes, and squash…in one dinner. Sarah Jane laughed until she cried.
Emma's parents own and operate the Wild Pony Ranch. Their holdings include Look Back Mountain. John and Sarah Jane Howard support their daughter in all her endeavors, including her interracial relationship with Chase.
The discord of racism reverberates, marring the harmony and beauty of nature, family, love, and friendships. As an enemy attacks through stealth and deceit, John must protect his family and his daughter's right to follow her heart.
Mr. Paxton deftly sketches the loving family, with details as warm and delicious as fresh-baked, lard-laden biscuits. With a talented hand, he adds the dark overlay of a chilling, malicious watcher. Mr. Paxton has painted a beautiful romance and thrilling mystery.
And yet the black man is written dumbed down. Having him learn to cook when the white girl won’t, he’s the butt of one of two humor attempts in the book, and he’s left at the grill for the duration of a huge ranch barbeque to do all the cooking - what? Plus where the couple settles, the difference in their vet practices, doubting his ability to ascend the mountain on a horse and yet wedding guests are assumed to be able to do so - in winter, her showing him how to examine a horse, and even the epilogue are examples of the deference to Emma in the writing that felt quite anti-theme . . . I don’t do spoilers but even the villain’s reason for the villainy is a huge stereotype.
Unfortunately, there is also filler here. The parents engagement story, a civil war battle reenactment, the visit by the black parents, the passage details of the ranch, the arrival of the dwarf uncle who paints multimillion dollar pictures, are all extraneous and not relevant or integrated into the story. And the wedding itself just plain belongs in a romance novel, it was so out there. This first novel may have just tried to be too many books at once.