We’re continuing the fun of #PubWeek with ST&BR’s review of K.L. Loveley’s Love, Secrets, & Absolution! Thank you so much to author K.L. Lovely and Globe Flower agency for sending us an ARC in exchange for our honest review. As always, if you’re sipping along at home, this week I’m enjoying a nice glass of Riesling (pick your favorite local vineyard)!
After years of struggling to conceive, Grace and Paul are *thrilled* to finally have their baby boy Alfie in their arms. Grace relishes in their daily routine of feeding, playing, and cuddling even though Alfie can be a bit hard to handle at times. Overtime, Paul (and basically everyone besides Grace) starts to notice that some of Alfie’s tendencies are different than most children his age. He would spend his days stacking blocks or watching the washing machine, struggled with making friends aside from his mother (who he basically clung to), and really REALLY hated it when something threw off his schedule.
The story follows Alfie and his mother Grace from birth through adulthood, specifically through Alfie’s eyes and Grace’s diary entries. Now, keeping spoilers out of this review is very difficult, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that the characters were truly what made me love this story. Grace was such a strong woman, doing her best to raise her son in an environment of health, happiness, and love, in spite the crazy circumstances that they experienced. And Alfie, oh, Alfie. As a young boy he tugged at my heart strings (that was one of the perks of hearing his thoughts…you got to know exactly how he perceived everything, which made you simultaneously want to laugh and cry), but watching him experience the normal temptations and struggles of teenage years and early adulthood made me feel so. many. EMOTIONS.
As much as I enjoyed the story as a whole, I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the writing most of the time. For one, Alfie’s portions started off a bit…odd, to say the least. I mean, picture a child that was just born telling you that it wanted to go back in the womb. Yeah, I probably could’ve went the rest of my life without hearing that. Also, occasionally the details thrown in were a bit too much to absorb–think: the color, material, style of each piece of clothing. Finally, the conversations (specifically at the start of the book, but it improved as the story progressed) just seemed to be forced, not very fluid or authentic. That being said, this was only Loveley’s second novel, so I expect these kinks will be worked out in future manuscripts!
This was such an emotionally charged, powerful story that is unlike anything I’ve read before. Giving a voice to an syndrome that is often thought of as an “invisible disease,” Love, Secrets and Absolution shows how a boy and his mother navigate the trials of friendship, acceptance, and financial struggles. Based on the story itself, I would love to rank it higher, but I wasn’t a fan of the actual writing at times…it was a bit long-winded, not realistic for my tastes. Even so, I still suggest checking it out if you get the chance, so get your copy on Amazon (it’s Kindle Unlimited eligible, y’all!) or see our last post to enter to win your own signed copy!