June 7, 2010

Er that's Episcopal Priest, not Episcopalian Priest...picky, picky, picky

full ForeWord Review HERE

7/21/2010 Edit

Well that link seems to have disappeared so here is the review in full:

ForeWord Clarion Review


In Between Goodbyes

Christina Wible



Three Stars (out of Five)

Strong characters carrying heavy psychological baggage feature in this insider’s look at life in New York’s theater district. A touch of mystery makes In Between Goodbyes a fascinating contemporary romantic tale.

Christina Wible’s debut follows the life of Hope Moran, who ekes out a living as a Broadway dresser. A dresser, in theater terms, is one who babysits and coddles and, yes, even dresses a theater actor when a wardrobe change is required. She also moonlights as an Episcopalian priest, filling in for various churches and doing good deeds, particularly among the homeless. One afternoon, she turns to life saving by pushing celebrity thespian Ian Pfeiffer out of the path of a kidnapper’s bullet. His family is not so fortunate; they die in a fiery car crash.

The show must go on. Hope, hired for her expertise in dressing and spiritual counseling, keeps Ian performing. Their close association turns to friendship, punctuated by a brief sexual encounter. As a result of some convenient plot manipulation, Ian heads to Central America to shoot a movie while Hope gestates, delivering a daughter with the help of a circle of women friends. The sense of community and friendship among the theater crowd rings true and adds another layer of enjoyment for the reader. The slightly prosaic mystery concerning the kidnapper offers a little suspense. A niggling problem—Ian’s lack of interest in sex—hovers in the background to be hurriedly resolved as the book ends.

The story of Hope and Ian’s relationship follows an all too familiar pattern: Ian doesn’t know he’s a father, and Hope works hard to keep father and daughter from meeting. Their lives diverge and years later converge again, resulting in a bittersweet ending.

It is the details concerning theater life that save this book from mediocrity. “Amy made her opening speech, and Ian clenched and unclenched his fists,” Wible writes. “He leaned back, and she put her hand squarely in the middle of his back. He leaned harder against the hand and then propelled himself out onto the stage for his entrance. The applause was deafening, and she could see both Amy and Ian struggle to stay in the moment.”

Overall, the writing flows well, but there are a few problems, including clumps of information, poor transitions from scene to scene, and a tendency to tell rather than show. For example, Wible writes, “Hope had last worked with Amy on some children’s musical where Amy was some over-costumed singing animal. She remembered the costume with a skirt so big it wouldn’t fit through the dressing room door, forcing Amy to make up in the dressing room and then costume in the wings.”

Tighter writing, a good editing, and better use of fiction writing techniques would greatly improve this novel. Nevertheless, In Between Goodbyes will be enjoyed by readers who like a good-hearted heroine, a worthy man who stays true to his love, and the smell of greasepaint.

Dawn Goldsmith

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