By Richard Brawer

Published by Vinspire Publishing, LLC.
ISBN: 978-0-9890632-7-2

If I had to choose one word to describe Richard Brawer’s writing, I would have to choose the word solid. Every book of his that I have read has been extremely well-crafted, with consistently excellent writing, impeccable plotting, and nicely developed characters.

Loves sweet sorrow is no exception. At first glance, this may seem to be a very simple story, but that impression is deceiving. This book actually follows three storylines, which intertwine to form a true Gordian knot that cannot be untied. When it is cut, the method is a surprise, but one that, when all is said and done, makes perfect sense.

One of the unique aspects of Richard Brawer’s books is that he is able to weave sometimes lesser-known historical events and little-known historical facts into his plots. He does this so seamlessly that the historical episode or fact becomes an integral part of the story and never distracts from what is going on. In this case, we are shown the development of the military-industrial complex from the end of Eisenhower’s presidency through the Vietnam war; the background and motivations for the Mafia’s involvement with the CIA in Cuba during John F Kennedy’s presidency; and the history and philosophy of the society of friends also known as the Quakers. As it happens, this is one of the most lucid and understandable discussions of Quaker philosophy and the tenants of Quaker faith that I have ever read.

This historical background provides both the setting and the support for the essential story which, as all stories must be, is a tale of people. At its center, this is a love story with one of the most unlikely pairing of opposites imaginable. Jason Soren is an attorney working for a huge weapons manufacturer, who has turned his back on his Mafia roots and chosen another kind of life, even to the extent of legally changing his name. Ariel Hammond is also an attorney, and a Quaker. She is curious about the world outside her experience, and is mentally and emotionally unready for what that world will bring. Both of these people must confront and come to terms with their heritage, their past, and both of them are forced to make life altering choices that will bring all their beliefs and assumptions under brutally honest scrutiny. Their choices will profoundly affect the other, and when those choices are made, they come not from reasoned consideration, but from the depths of their hearts.

They are attracted to one another less by the things that make them opposites than by those things they share, and discovering the ideals and traits that unite them is one of the many joys of reading this book. Each of these young people must not only examine and understand their own spiritual and emotional motivations, but those of the other person involved, and each must take the other’s beliefs into consideration, and make adjustments that will allow their relationship to function in a healthy and positive way.

While many of the characters in this book come close to being stereotypical, the portraits are so well drawn that even though they act in ways we might expect, they also retain their uniqueness, which makes them interesting and comprehensible.

This is a strongly written, well researched, thoughtful , interesting book, and is, in my opinion very much worth reading for the story it tells and for the thoughts it provokes.




Evans above

By Rhys Bowen</stro
ST. Mary Meade has Miss Marple, the Scottish Highlands have Hamish Macbeth, and the Welsh mountains have Constable Evan Evans. Each of these cozy series has certain similarities, and I find them each charming in its own way.

Constable Evans lives in a small Welsh village, having left the police force n a large city, and he often has some issues adjusting to a very different life style. For one thing, as one of the most eligible bachelors around, he is beset with people making marriage plans for him, without his opinions, of course. In addition, he must balance between 2 strong and lovely ladies who both have a definite interest in him, and he isn’t quite ready to make an ultimate choice.

He loves his job, though, and the mysteries he must solve (with resistance from the nearest large town force) are interesting and convoluted enough to keep the reader’s attention.

This is a cozy series, and depends on character and setting for much of its appeal, but it does those things delightfully, so that reading these books is very pleasurable light reading.