Pride’s Children, Obsession’s Birth #BookReview

PridesChildren-b1As have so many good things since I started blogging, this book came to my attention through a world-wide web with Holly Jahangiri in the center.

Holly posted about plot bunnies. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt commented about writing prompts. I commented that I provided daily writing prompts on my blog. Alicia visited my blog and left some thoughtful, generous comments. I read one of her free short stories, got hooked, and bought this book.

How to characterize Purgatory: Book One of the Pride’s Children trilogy?

It’s centrally concerned with the interior lives of the main characters rather than with the activities going on around them, except as those activities impact their interior lives. (Things happen, it’s just that how those happenings affect the people is more important than the happenings themselves.)

So it’s Literary?

Specifically, the interior interplay between the characters focuses on various forms, abuses, amounts or lack of amounts, surrender to or denial of love and the power of love.

So it’s Romance?

The main character copes with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, one of those “invisible” illnesses that get people vilified by mouthy and judgmental people for using handicapped parking spaces when they don’t have an obvious limp.

But it isn’t Disability Porn.

What it is, is exactly what I want in a book, whether it’s genre (science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance) or not: It’s immersion in other lives, other personalities, other realities. At 474 pages, I had plenty of time to indulge myself – except that I stayed up late and ignored my work and read and read and read.

Sometimes – rarely – I have no earthly idea why one of Ehrhardt’s characters has a particular reaction or says a particular thing. Sometimes I catch on later, sometimes I don’t. Either way, I read on. Because I don’t have to “get” everything every time. Because I’m trespassing and eavesdropping on another psyche, and it feels natural that I wouldn’t invariably understand.

These characters, you see, aren’t one-dimensional, they’re four-dimensional: They’re full-bodied and they exist in time. Like real people you meet in real life, they have histories, and they’re made up of all the people they’ve ever been and all the people they could possibly become. They’re the people they seem to be to others, the people they seem to be to themselves, the people they wish they were, the people they’re afraid they are, and the simmering stew of people-stuff that they actually are.

What happens in the book?

A movie gets made on location in New Hampshire. The life of a best-selling writer with CFS and a retreat near the location intersects with the lives of the film folk. There are various family and professional crises or near-crises. Nothing is overheated. It’s a sous vide book: everything is held at the optimum temperature, the heat of the living heart.

I honestly don’t know how to explain the grip this book had on me from the first. I couldn’t stop reading it, and I wanted it never to end. I’ve read other books that affected me this way, but the authors always hurt the spell by tossing a plot bomb in through the window. Ehrhardt may do that before the trilogy is over, but she doesn’t do it in this book. The climax and ending are just as they should be: strong, natural, and satisfactory.

She says that books 2 and 3 are finished in rough draft. I paid (I! Paid!) actual cash money for Book 1. You’d better believe I’m buying 2 and 3, as well.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your character becomes obsessed with something or someone.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Pride’s Children, Obsession’s Birth #BookReview

  1. Jane

    July 25, 2016 at 8:49am

    What a wonderful, exciting review!
    I take it you liked this book some. 😉
    I guess I’d better read it, too. Because A. It sounds wonderful, and B. We won’t be able to talk about it if I don’t!
    Yum, can’t wait!

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  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    July 25, 2016 at 1:16pm

    I think I will be reading this review once a day from now on.

    I think you will like the endings of Book 2 and 3; I wouldn’t do Book 1 to you if I hadn’t planned it to get much, much better. I hope I satisfy.

    Thank you for an amazing review.

    You didn’t mention, so I will add one small point: this is not a Romance. It is a love story. It does not follow the conventions Romance writers expect, but will be readable for those who both love Romance and are willing to expand that definition into books such as Jane Eyre.

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    • Author
      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

        July 25, 2016 at 4:45pm

        Two of my negative reviews came from women who expected a Romance and castigated me for producing something else.

        As a result, I am skittish – I never advertise Pride’s Children as if it were a Romance – but people don’t always read even small ads carefully. Even in my smallest descriptions it is clear we are not following conventions.

        I have utmost respect for Romance readers AND writers. They are doing extremely well, especially as indies. I almost wish there were some small corner where I could ply my wares and not raise hackles, but I haven’t found it.

        Well-established Romance writers can take their fans a bit further – but the fans already know them and expect a progression. I’m an Ugly Duckling in that scenario, and the results are predictable.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      August 4, 2016 at 3:12pm

      I only want you to buy it if you think you’d like it! Tell your pocketbook it can read the book after you’re finished. 😀

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  3. A.C.Flory

    July 25, 2016 at 6:55pm

    Yes! I’m so glad you felt this way about Purgatory’s Children. I read it a while back and was blown away as well – for all the reasons you’ve named. 🙂

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 26, 2016 at 7:49am

      Meeks, I’m Snoopy-dancing to hear that! It’s an extraordinary book, isn’t it?

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      • A.C.Flory

        July 27, 2016 at 7:06pm

        It is, and I think I loved it, at least partly, because it /is/ a love story rather than a romance. Love stories don’t come with iron-clad guarantees of happy-ever-after and neither does real life. Beauty is in the moment.

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  4. Peter Nena

    July 26, 2016 at 5:10am

    Hi. Thank you for registering to participate in the Cherished Blogfest 2016. I look forward to reading your post.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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