Sorry I haven't been posting these last couple days. I've been--you guessed it--packing.
Meanwhile, the reviewers over at Publishers Weekly were kind enough to read An Age of Madness, and then kind enough to write a review that makes it sound like it might be worth reading--but they weren't quite kind enough to avoid the old sting-in-the-tail method of dropping in a last-minute comment to the effect of, "Oh, and it also kind of sucks." To wit:
"Psychiatrist Regina Moss comes on strong in this compassionate, imperfect novel of the surprising, halting ways that the heart and mind heal after tragedy."
(That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? "Surprising" is always nice, and "halting," under the right circumstances, can be mighty effective.)
"Regina works at a 'holding tank for public-sector mentally ill' in a Massachusetts hospital where the afflicted patients’ suffering and symptoms mirror her own troubles, despite her strenuous efforts to keep the effects of personal tragedy at bay through mordant wit and a clinical remove."
(All promising so far. "Mordant wit and clinical remove" ? Sign me up!)
"Regina’s relationship with her college-age daughter is frayed, and the defenses she’s built up allow her to function, if not flourish, years after a terrible personal loss. Two things finally crack Regina open to further waves of grief: her role as dutiful daughter to an ailing father reaches a critical point, and a tenuous affair with a younger subordinate."
(Okay, family tension, I can roll with that. Not a lot of car chases in this book, it doesn't sound like, but that's not always a bad thing.)
"In the deftly sketched Regina, Maine has created a touchingly human reminder that scar tissue isn’t always visible..."
"...but unwittingly shows how an uneven story can fail to measure up to a well-drawn character."
Things were going so well, too, right up to that nasty last sentence. Last half-sentence, even.
Oh well. At least they read it, and maybe people will pay attention to the "compassionate" and "surprising" bits about the ""deftly sketched" and "touchingly human reminder that scar tissue isn't always visible." That all sounds pretty good, doesn't it?