Review: Secrets of the Speckled Oak by Dawn Alexander

Posted: February 8, 2014 in New Adult, Reviews
Tags: , , ,


Author:  Dawn Alexander

Paperback, 220 pages

Published in 2012 by Outskirts Press

Genres:  New Adult, Biographical Fiction

Synopsis:  Laura, a loving mother and wife, struggles over the fact of revealing difficult family secrets to her sons, Max and Alex. She laughs to herself at the thought of how closely her “real-life” resembles that of a “Lifetime Movie.” She mulls over how difficult it would be to actually “tell” Max the entire story! When suddenly the answer to her dilemma strikes her! Laura elects to relive many of her joyful and heartbreaking events that helped to shape her life, by way of a letter! Laura lovingly writes a letter to her son, Max. She explains how not only heartbreak, but love has transformed her life into what it is today. Within the envelope of the letter, Laura places a special gift for Max and Alex to share, which the sons do not initially understand. Laura quotes scriptures from the Bible throughout her letter in hopes that it may aid her son Max through the “journey” of his mother’s life. She hopes once he has completed the reading of the letter and her life story, he may understand even though life does not always turn out exactly how one may have it planned, does not mean the outcome will not turn out even better than he could have ever imagined!

My Review: First of all let me say that the story here is quite moving.  A young mother’s story of falling deeply in love only to discover life is not a fairytale.  There were plenty of times that I reached for my tissue or simply let the tears fall.  That being said, there are a few issues with the book that I couldn’t overlook.

The first was the style in which it was written.  It was like reading a high school girl’s journal.  While that may not always be bad, it was somewhat distracting here.  The writing was overly simple with a lot of repeated words or phrases either within the same sentence or in sequential sentences.  There was even a time or two where the voice switched from third person to first.  I believe it was an unintentional slip, but it did skip me up a bit.

The second issue that I had was that there were way too many exclamation points throughout the book!!!  It gave me the feeling that the author was rushing the story, wanting to get every word down before it escaped her.  This goes back to the overly simple writing style.  I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this was written by a teenage girl.

Overall the story was good and had the author taken a step back and let the book rest and then re-read her work , or enlisted the help of a ghost writer I think that this could have been very good book.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

  1. I love the cover of this book and the story sounds promising. I can overlook exclamation marks, I often have to remove my own!! but I’m more dubious about the school-girl journal style of writing. A great review 🙂

    • Thanks! Yes, the story is good, but the writing style was overly simplistic. Many of the sentences contained the characters’ names when a simple “they” could have been used (because the names were in the preceding sentence). It was things like this that brought this book down for me. Could be as simple as needing a good proofreader. 🙂

  2. […] Review: Secrets of the Speckled Oak by Dawn Alexander […]

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