Beneath the Pines by Sandra Gowan

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher to write an honest review for BookLook Blogger.

The year is 1914, and Amanda Jane Horseman is unexpectedly homeless, without a dime to her name. In a state of desperation, she applies for a job on Ministers Island in southern New Brunswick, Canada. What begins as a fresh start to her life quickly takes a turn for the worse when she receives threats on her life. With nobody to turn to, Amanda will go on a hunt for answers that could cost her everything, including her life.

Sandra Gowan has a good story idea with Beneath the Pines.  However, I felt that if she would have given it one more edit, she may have noticed that the plot was rushed, the characters, with the exception of Amanda Jane, were not well developed, and she needs to review the rule of “show, don’t tell”.

The above description of the book certainly fits the book and is true of the story.  It’s just that the “happenings” in the story could have used more action and more detail.  There should have been more time spent drawing out the plot a little more.  For example, if she had developed her characters a bit more, it would have been more fun for the reader to attempt to figure out who the guilty character was while walking with Amanda Jane as she investigated the mystery.

There were also abrupt changes sometimes that seemed out of place or caused me to reread these sections to try to figure out what was going on.  She also did some occasional “head-hopping” — changing the point of view character without warning.

I would love to see her take the time to really develop this story and the things that happen to Amanda Jane when she gets to Ministers Island, and during the time she is away, and again when she returns and begins her sleuthing.  If there were more details and more action and the plot were fully developed, as well as the other important characters, especially Thomas, I would love to read this story all over again.

However, as it is currently written, I felt disappointed and empty throughout much of this book.  I found myself thinking, “oh, this scene would be better if . . .”  I would only recommend this story to people who enjoy a fast, easy read as long as they don’t mind missing details.

I would also encourage Ms. Gowan to read books by other successful author who write the same genre, and keep writing because the more you write, the more you improve; and in Beneath the Pines, it is easy to see that Ms. Gowan has raw writing talent.  She just has to cook it a little longer.  😉

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