I can’t remember how I heard about Pearl Maker by C.C. Wharton. But somehow I came to own a copy, which has been on my nightstand for several months.
I spent this past weekend on vacation at my dad’s lake place, and took the book with me. I finished it in three days. Here are some of my thoughts.
The premise of Pearl Maker is excellent: a high-school English teacher is kidnapped (along with two of her students) and raped by the low-life assigned to guard them. During an escape attempt, the teacher is forced to make a split-second decision: it’s her or her captor. The aftermath of her decision throws her into a quest for moral clarity whilst going through a murder trial.
There is a strong Christian overtone to the book (which I happened to like), and I got to root for the heroine as she struggled with herself. I love that in a book (especially when it ends on a positive note).
Now for the problems. The first is one I see beginning writers make all the time, which is to have too many points of view. At times, the point of view changed paragraph by paragraph. I would have to re-read to find out whose head I was in now.
Closely related to that: to much telling. Don’t tell me what the character’s feeling: SHOW me with the character’s actions.
I felt there were too many “extemporaneous” characters – ones that don’t really impact the direction of the story or the character’s development (the teacher’s Senator uncle comes to mind). They clutter up the pages and make the ‘real’ story harder to follow. And (again closely related): it makes it harder to really flesh out the main characters. Consequently, I felt the characters were somewhat stilted and a bit too stereotypical. (The teacher’s minister friend comes to mind – he seemed to have NO bad habits or weaknesses – too good to be true.)
Would I read another book by this author? Yes. Because I think she’ll get better!