14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
**Disclaimer: This paperback novel was sent to me by the author at no cost to review. While I do not feel that this influenced me in any capacity, I am legally obligated to disclose this fact so that you can come to your own conclusions about the merit of this analysis.**
Life, as displayed through the eyes of a third party, can sometimes lead to observations and epiphanies unbeknownst to those being observed. In literature you generally refer to the third party as a "narrator", who usually expounds about subtle plot points or other information to add mystery to the prose. By contrast, a novel may be written from a first-person perspective, with the protagonist adding their perceptions and internal dialogue to deepen the tale. Finally, and author may use both a narrator and a first-person viewpoint.
Now you may be wondering as to why I wrote the above statement; the distinction is important because "Charles and Edward" is written in the form of emails exchanged between the main characters. At first this may seem like a nifty idea, but as the story unfolds you will find yourself yearning for more depth and exposition. With that in mind, here is my review of "Charles and Edward: A Modern-Day Pretty Woman".
As mentioned above, "Charles and Edward" (henceforth referred to as C&E) is written entirely in the form of email communication from the main characters. From page 1 you begin with an email from Charles to Edward, and then the inevitable reply from Edward. While an email may discuss another person, the author of C&E, rather than using email dialogue sporadically as a way to add to the story, chose the email format as the plot delivery vehicle for the entire book. You will read the circular email dialogue over and over, ad nauseam. If you are like me, you WILL also find yourself loathing the tale as you tackle each page.
Lastly, the book is printed with a very small font, even more so on the back of the book cover. If you have trouble reading smaller text, you may want to wait to purchase this book printed with a larger font.
Story and Plot
The book comes plastered with the tagline "A Modern Day Pretty Woman". For those of you who know history, the 1990 movie "Pretty Woman" (starring an appropriately sexy Richard Gere) was based on the play "My Fair Lady", which in turn was adapted from the 1912 play "Pygmalion" written by George Bernard Shaw. The basic premise of these three stories is that a poor, underprivileged woman meets a wealthy gentleman, who then gives her elocution lessons and dresses her is in fine clothing to elevate her standing within the class hierarchy, and thus gain entry into the world of the rich and successful.
C&E touches upon a condensed ideal of "Pretty Woman" with the trope of "poor boy, rich man", with the ensuing drama plays out in the emails between the two characters. Unfortunately the emails do not explain how Charles and Edward met each other, only that each enjoyed the company of the other party prior to the starting email at the beginning of the book. It is from these casual emails that the story evolves to Charles and Edward becoming more than just good friends.
In terms of language/writing skill (and by inference, his elocution) Edward (the "poor boy") writes well, so there is no need for Charles to train him to speak the Queen's English. As their romance unfolds throughout email after email, two points become clear:
1) Charles is older than Edward and is very generous. His luck in catching a young man lends to his tendency to give into Edward's numerous "requests",
2) Edward is a gold-digger. By the time that you reach the end of the book he is asking for money from Charles in nearly every email exchange.
Unfortunately, due to the writing style of the book, other details are a bit difficult to ascertain (in re: the plot). Charles wines-and-dines Edward, taking him on holiday to many exotic locations and gives him many gifts. That said the writing style of this book leaves the reader in the dark. The characters write to each other like two people who have shared an experience and know the background. Sadly, the book doesn't come around to add the reader to be privy to the inside joke.
"Charles and Edward" tries so hard to follow in the literary footsteps of "Pretty Woman" that it ends up tripping over its own narrative. From the nonstop email exchange narrative style, to the lack of establishing a proper setting, and writing that leaves the reader out of the loop of the world being created (name another novel that actively makes a reader feel "left out" on the plot), the reader will flinch at the lack of detail. lf "Charles and Edward" ever truly reaches the tagline on its cover, I will be surprised. The book has a lot of potential, but for some reason it doesn't want to reveal a plot. Final say: rent or borrow this book to determine whether you feel it is worth the price; personally, until the story is made clearer I cannot recommend this novel.