Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review: The Cult of Light and Lies


Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Warning – adultery

One night, and one stupid mistake, turned the life of suburban housewife and mother, Tilley Jenkins, into a prison of paranoia and fear. Dancing and drinking on a rare girl’s night out, feeling young and sexy, she flirts with a man she met briefly. Before she knows it, she’s had too much to drink and no way home.

She wakes in the morning and finds herself in bed with him, the first man she’s slept with, besides her husband, in twenty-five years. Her guilt spirals her down the pathway of depression and alcoholism, while her spirited and popular daughter rebels and falls into the hands of neighbors involved in a powerful and outlandish cult. Tilley gets the shock of her life, when she encounters the cult members and their strange beliefs as she fights to regain the trust and love of her daughter, and regain her own self-esteem in the process.

What can I say? This book and I didn't click. The main character, Tilley is an alcoholic whose life is literally crumbling around her. She's killing herself with the alcohol and doesn't seem to care enough to get help. Even though her family knows she drinks and she knows they know. She doesn't make a habit of it, but she does cocaine in the beginning when she is out with friends and that's when she wakes up with the stranger. I don't like Tilley, her eldest daughter, her husband or her friends. In fact, the only characters I come close to liking are her youngest daughters and that's mostly pity.

Now the dislike of all characters present would be okay if that was how they were meant to be portrayed. I can't figure that out. Tilley and her husband have these arguments where I can't even figure out where they stand on the issue. Like this one time Tilley blows off Mica (their teenage daughter) as if her problems aren't phazing her. In the next paragraph she starts raving about how out of control she is. And it leaves me unable to tell if Tilley is a complete lunatic or the writing is that bad.

The story is in the 3rd person, but only from Tilley's point of view. That is what limits my ability to discern what is really going on around her. It's all her perception and she's drunk most of the time. I think it would have been an easier read if the author had told the story from other characters as well, especially the other crazy people that are in this story.

It's a weird and thrilling tale, but I couldn't get around the issues I already listed.


  1. Hi, Let me thank you for your fair and honest opinion on my book, The Cult of Light and Lies. I appreciate your insight. I do take it as a compliment you said it was weird and thrilling, even if you disliked it. LOL. Thank you for taking the time to read it, maybe I should stick to paranormal romance from now on. I thought I'd take a chance on something different. Yikes. Thanks again, I really mean it, and take care. Lynn

    1. Lynn, you are such a lady. I know that regardless of what we write--and I have written my share of bits that people don't like--even if it isn't our best work, something strange happens when someone doesn't like it. Your response reads honest and humble. You don't see a lot of that, so I wanted to say you are awesome ;-)

      Haven't read any of your stuff, but I'm going to find some of that yummy paranormal romance you spoke of!

  2. Self-destructive characters with no obvious motivation can be a problem. I tend to tire of them easily. Like you, I don't mind jerks or horrid individuals who are fun or sarcastic; it's fiction after all and it takes all kinds to make a tale awesome. For instance, Hannibal Lecter is one of my favorite characters in literature. People look at me funny when I say this, even after I explain that the man is monster, but he's a monster with an amazing brain and a cause--the cause is quite demented and evil, but hey, you can't have it all, right?

  3. Thank you so much, Magaly. (Love your name!) What sweet comments. Getting a bad review stings, for sure, but I look at it like the reviewers have a job to do, too. If they don't like it, it's not their fault. And thanks for your insight. My character is an alcoholic. Sometimes it's hard to write about alcoholism when it's such a confusing disease even for those living with it. I grew up in an alcoholic home, so what I wrote is not for everyone. And that's cool. ps. I like me some weird personalities, too. I love your assessment of Hannibal! You brought a smile to my face this morning and for that I thank you.

    1. Weird personalities make the best fiction and keep real life interesting ;-)


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