I'm back with another book review! This time of Beyond the Horizon by Jesseca Wheaton. Jesseca is a new author I've discovered, and so far greatly enjoyed. I'm going to deviate from my previous format of doing reviews long enough to dive into something dear to my heart.
Jesseca Wheaton is an Indie author like myself, which is why I originally was interested in her work. I know how hard it can be to make your way as an Indie author and I love to support other people in my line of work. After that initial reason, however, I soon became intrigued by her books simply from reading their synopses. Let's back-track half a moment to say, I met Jesseca at the convention I went to earlier this year and that's where I first became introduced to her work and intrigued by it.
At any rate, showing my love for fellow Indie authors, I've read Beyond the Horizon.
So what is this book about?
Eliana longs to see the world beyond the mountains that tower above Salzburg, Austria, but knows that dream will never see such adventure--and neither will she.
Surrounded by a world of cruelty, she lives for the weekly visits of Aron, a boy she met on one of her rambles through the countryside.
But as the years pass and she begins to grow older, a new an unwelcome world is opened up to her. On a fateful night at a party she vowed she'd never attend, she comes face to face with a shocking truth. As the world around her teeters on the brink of war, Eliana struggles to figure out just where her loyalty lies; a decision that will drastically change the course of her life. Will she ever be free to see what lies beyond the horizon?
First Impressions: I loved it! It's a very sweet story.
This story is a Cinderella re-telling set in World War II Austria, and I thought Jesseca did a splendid job of transferring that story from fairytale to modern era. It wasn't cheesy, like most modern stories of Cinderella are.
The characters are delightful and quaint (I use that word in the best sense! i.e. picturesque, charming, sweet). The setting is intriguing. To be fair, it is a novella so we don't dive too deep into either character development or the politics and war going on at that time. However, I think it works well for this story. It's a simple love-story that happens to be set during World War II. The war adds a bit of suspense to the story but it doesn't overwhelm it because, as I said, we don't dive too deep into all of that.
The love story is believable, which is something I sometimes have trouble with in novellas simply because there isn't a lot of time to prove to the reader it is something they should believe in. Jesseca definitely convinced me of the love story.
One thing I had a small issue with was the faith element she has entwined in the story. It takes rather a backseat than otherwise, which is why when one of the characters comes to Jesus it sort of felt misplaced and out of nowhere. If I thought about it, I could see the progression. But that's the thing, I shouldn't have to think about it; the progression should feel natural and I should be able to follow it subconsciously. That was one of the very few things that bothered me about this book.
The other things that struck me at times was a few grammatical errors. To be fair, every book has them. Even Dee Henderson shocks me with one or two occasionally. No matter how many edits you go through, you're always going to miss at least one issue (I speak from experience). With that being said, there were enough of them in this small tale that it stuck out to me, and also momentarily drew me out of the story. It also seemed to say "self-published" or in other words "unprofessional" which is not something we Indie authors want our books to say. We deserve to be on reader's shelves as much as any traditionally published book. And Jesseca's story is no exception; I am glad to add it to my collection. I'm simply trying to be impartial and review this book without my "I love fellow Indie authors!" rose-colored glasses, so I have to say that the many grammatical errors did draw me out of the story and present the book as less than perfect.
Enough negativity, though! Back to the good stuff...
There was one major plot point that I saw coming a mile away, and I thought I had Jesseca Wheaton all figured out. And then she hit me over the head with something completely out of left field that I didn't expect at all. Kudos to you, Miss Wheaton! :) I was surprised firstly because I didn't expect a plot twist from her because I thought I'd figured her out, and secondly because I was reading a tiny novella and wasn't prepared for major plots twists because of that simple fact. I do so love when authors surprise me though!
Would I read this book again? Absolutely!!
Would I recommend this book to others? 100% Everyone, go read it!! You can buy it here: Beyond the Horizon on Amazon