Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is an excellent writer. Her voice, in The Widow’s End is period perfect. I didn’t stumble over a single phrase or find a comma out of place. Reading her prose was a pleasure. It flowed smoothly from page to page and pulled me through the story to the end of the book.
I chose to review The Widow’s End because the book blurb piqued my interest:
When widow Katie Lafferty arrives at the Pythian House, a home for widows and orphans, she has little hope for the future. She soon learns the reality offers more grueling work than she could have imagined. One of the few bright spots in her daily drudgery is Latin Master Everett Brown at the school across the street. As Katie struggles to conform to the rules and settle into her new life, she looks forward to her chance meetings with Mr. Brown When she fails to meet the standards of the home, her future becomes even more uncertain. If she has a knight in shining armor, it’s Everett Brown.
That enticed me to read the first chapter, which was offered free on the review site. The first chapter hooked me. I wanted to learn more about Katie Lafferty, the Pythian House, her conflict there, and the knightly Latin Master, Everett Brown. I downloaded the book, I read it from end to end in just a couple of hours, and put it down still wanting to know more.
The conflict in the book had great potential, but in every instance it was defused before I had ample reason to grow concerned. Not once did I find myself wondering how Katie was going to get out of her predicament. This was a gentle, sweet, story and I do not consider the time I spent reading it wasted, but it did not tug on my emotions.
Everett Brown’s dramatic rescue of Katie from her confinement in her room at the Pythian House would have been much more swoon worthy if Katie had actually been in her room for more than a few hours, had missed more than one meal, and had a more concrete consequence hanging over her head then being put out of a home she had no wish to stay in anyway. Even Everett knew she wasn’t in serious trouble, because he took the time to secure Katie safe lodging before rushing to her rescue.
In short, this novel has the potential for excellence, but it hasn’t been fleshed out enough. I will definitely read the next Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy novel, in hopes that her story crafting has grown. I know it will someday match the excellent quality of her prose.