Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bookended by Beauty Queens, Victoria Marshal (4 stars)

From Amazon: Angie Palmer likes her life just the way it is–private. She has no desire to entangle herself in complex friendships, and her relationship with her two beauty queen sisters is safely distant.

When disaster strikes Angie takes her Grandmother into her home. Life with Grandma comes with a world of changes, and new friends, including Val, a drag queen with hopes of being the next US-Gay Beauty Queen. Angie is determined to keep Val at a distance but Val has an instinct for knowing Angie’s heart.

Just as Angie gets comfortable with Grandma living with her, a budding friendship with Val, and a new romantic interest, everything takes an unexpected turn.

Val is the victim of a violent crime and ends up in a coma. Angie begins a struggle against Val’s family who wants to remove their son from life support.

Suddenly Angie’s private life becomes very public, and her world becomes a media circus. She is caught in a clash between religious beliefs and gay rights.
Through many twists and turns, Angie discovers a new appreciation for family, friends, and love.

In the end, Angie learns that a life filled with people to care about is never too crowded.

Can you imagine growing up sandwiched between beauty queen sisters? Angie learned to define herself by intelligence and toughness as the middle of three girls, especially since her older and younger sisters were beauty queens. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

Angie’s built a fence around her life, determined to keep out any entanglements. No men, no friends. Then her grandmother moves in after her home is devastated by a fire, she meets a drag queen on the subway, and an unexpected man catches her eye. The walls she’s so carefully built start tumbling down.

Every time I thought I had figured out where this book was going, it took a turn. I say this as a compliment. I was invested in the characters, particularly Angie and her grandmother, but just when I feared it would get tired or follow a too-obvious path, something unexpected would happen.

The author does an excellent job weaving many story elements into a fine fabric of action, romance, courtroom drama, social issues, and female relationships. There’s a little something for everyone.

I commend the author for taking on the controversial subject matter. Don’t be worried about preaching, though. The story focuses on the journey to opening up your heart.

Overall, the quality of the writing outweighed the grammar and punctuation errors I found. The more I read this book, the more I liked the multi-layered story and complex characters. Don’t make up your mind too soon in the story. Let your heart be your guide.

Rating: 4 stars

For more information about the author, please visit her site.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from the author for an honest review. The opinion expressed is my own.


Kymele Des A Lo'ra said...

I saw this note on Depression Cookies and felt a "twinge" I guess (or maybe I'm still procrastinating on my ROW check-in). ;-)

Either way, I'm glad I came and read this. It sounds marvelous. Thanks for pointing me to a new story to check out.


Tia Bach said...

Eden, It was a delightful read. The author told me she even fixed the errors (she was embarassed about them - I told her not to be, it happens to the best of us!), so that would easily bump it to 4.5 stars. Enjoyable.

Thanks for letting the twinge lead you here. ;-)