A few weeks ago I received a copy of the e-book Thoughts of Maria by Gregory Heath. Thanks to a computer glitch it’s taken me a while to get to the review.
Synopsis: There are four main protagonists in the story who tell interleaving stories about a phase in their lives. Gerry was divorced by his wife Rachel; Maria, a young Filipina living on Manila’s dumps with her family; and Gerry and Rachel’s son Callum. The story focuses on Gerry’s decision to find a mail-order bride from Asia and the impact that has on each of the characters.
Review: The approach of revealing each character’s thoughts and aims by telling their story in interweaving chapters is interesting. The strength of this strategy is that is shows how little each of the characters really know of each other and their motivations.
I found Gerry and Maria engaging and though each had their own aspirations for the relationship, there were hidden undercurrents especially Maria not revealing her family’s dire straits. While understandable given the family’s absolute poverty, this has potential for undermining the couple’s relationship but time may have made it possible for Maria to reveal the truth. Both Gerry and Maria seem committed to making the relationship work. Gerry and Maria convinced me of their belief in family and the willingness to commit, but the behaviour of the other characters left me with the expectation that their new-found happiness might be destroyed.
Gerry’s son Callum on the other hand is a nasty piece of work….weak, conniving and generally unstable. His self-destructive behaviour leaves a potential bombshell for Gerry and Maria.
Rachel is equally flawed, dissatisfied with her life and envious of Gerry’s new relationship. Her bitterness and viciousness combined with Callum’s bombshell have the potential to completely destroy Gerry and Maria’s marriage despite their best efforts.
Gerry’s father, Arthur, makes a brief appearance which reveals where Gerry has learned his family values.
I prefer a longer novel and this one was quite short, but honestly, by the end, I didn’t really want to know of might become the car-crash of their lives. The characters were certainly believable but the weakness and nastiness of Callum and Rachel meant that it wasn’t a book I enjoyed. The open ending left the reader with their own options for what would happen next.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Magic carpet factor: I gave this book three stars because of the believability of the characters. Without that it would probably have been 2½.