I was given a copy of Tropical Shadows as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team and for an honest and unbiased review
I gave Tropical Shadows 3* out of 5*
Respectable Julia is horrified to receive a phone call from the British Consul saying that her teenage sister Emily has been thrown in jail on a South-East Asian island for alleged drug smuggling.
Immediately she takes the next plane for Maising, leaving her disgruntled husband behind.
Even more bad news, nobody knows the whereabouts of her sister’s child.
Julia visits the jail where Emily insists toddler Rosie is safe because she’s with a trusted friend.
But where the trusted friend is, no one knows.
Emily, a teenage single mum on a belated gap year plus toddler, says she bought a padded cotton bag from an itinerant seller at the bus station.
Yet when she went through airport security, the bag was found to have a false bottom containing cannabis.
Julia believes Em’s claims that she’s been framed, but the young Consul says the penalties for drug smuggling are severe, as in many other parts of South East Asia.
Obviously Julia wants to rescue her sister and find her child as quickly as possible.
The British Embassy vainly tries to help and so does Duncan Hereford, an expat doctor with something of a past, and Julia’s pompous husband keeps phoning with his ideas too.
The Embassy advises it is imperative the British Press don’t get to hear about Emily because the tabloids are bound to write nonsense about backward foreign Maising and offend the Prince, making Emily’s chances of receiving a royal pardon highly unlikely.
But she’s innocent, Julia keeps saying but no one will believe her.
Meanwhile there are constant rumours from the outlying islands that a white child has been seen and Duncan offers to take Julia on several boat trips to investigate, all in vain.
But then the tabloids get hold of the story of the beautiful imprisoned British girl and her lost baby and all hell breaks loose. And Emily’s bad-news ex-boyfriend, the toddler’s natural father, begins to take an interest.
Tropical Shadows is a delightful story of sibling love and loyalty that will capture your heart.
Firstly, I’d like to say I think the Blurb gives away too much of the plot. When I read a book I like to find out for myself what happens; to discover the story for myself.
Tropical Shadows begins interestingly and sets up the story in the long first chapter. The reader is thrust into the plot right away and I was looking forward to a tense read. A young girl caught with drugs and imprisoned into a primitive prison in a foreign country has all the ingredients of a disturbing, even sinister tale. Add to that a disquieting parallel plot of a missing child and the expectation of tension grows.
There are quite a few portrayals of interesting characters who add background to Tropical Shadows, some well-written descriptions of the settings that give a good sense of place, and a quite good insight to how Embassies could be run. It’s a good plot.
But, as a whole, I’m afraid it didn’t work for me. I found difficult to have any empathy with both the protagonist or any of the main characters because I didn’t feel I got to know them. And, somehow, the dialogue isn’t emotional enough; it doesn’t show the fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness of the some of the situations. The words are there but there is no showing of rise and fall of crisis and conflict in the characters or the action. And every now and again the story falls into telling, rather than showing, especially when relating the past.
Perhaps a tighter, final edit could resolve these issues.
Reblogged this on meatdoesntgrowinmygarden.
Many thanks for the reblog; I appreciate your support.
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Always a pleasure. Thanks for writing it
Thank you Judith.
I love the honesty in your reviews Judith. Although the blurb does hint at lots of different actions going on with the plots, I too feel like it was a short recap of the story instead of an intriguing blurb to hook me in. 🙂 x
Oh, thanks, Debby, I do, sometimes, wonder if I’m too blunt but try to put in a bit of encouragement at times like this. I read some wonderful books… and do tend to rave about them if I think/know other readers will love them as well. I just know that, if there’s a spark there, with more practice it will shine. Hmm, think I might have a session on Blurbs with my students. 🙂 x
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I agree Judith. And yes, certainly this post has hit on a lightbulb moment, lol. Blurb post is in order! 🙂 ❤ Looking forward.
I have found it difficult to rate 1-3 stars, Judith. But after reading your review, I realize there is a way to do this tactfully and in the best interest of the author. You were specific about what didn’t work for you and offered what you thought was needed to improve the work. Very well done 🙂 xx
Thank you, Tina. I do try for constructive criticism at all times.And I really don’t go below 3*. What I will do for those that go below 3* is to try to say/ write to the author personally, what doesn’t work. It’s something that Rosie (#RBRT) does as well. We all need help sometimes in our writing, I think, however long we’ve been at it.:) Jx
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