Sunday, September 7, 2014

Book Review: What If You Made It Up?

By Kathryn Hamilton

If you’re lucky, you find a career that you love, and when you achieve your goals, you are fulfilled and happy. Sometimes though, when you achieve that success, you look in the mirror and realize that this is not the person you want to be. Eva Karlsen found herself a part of the latter group. With the guidance and support of her life coach, Eva takes control of her life. Upon discovering her true life passion, she leaves her corporate career and the big city to begin anew in small town Wyoming. Eva’s plan was to keep a low profile while building her new business because behind her success she hides a secret that shames her and makes her feel like a fraud. The residents of Bear having something else in mind though and she encounters the surprises life can bring when you open yourself up to possibilities; what happens if you just make it up?

It is exciting to see so many new and talented authors coming onto the chick lit scene. Kathleen Kolze’s debut novel, What If You Made It Up?, is a welcome addition to my bookshelf. She combines the elements of love, friendship and self-discovery that characterize the genre, while adding a unique adventure and mystery that is unexpected. Ms. Kolze writes in such a way that the reader can easily become immersed in the story.

As a reader, if I have something in common with a character, it causes me to connect with him/her. Eva’s adoration for her Goldens created an affinity for the character from the beginning. Even without this commonality, Eva is a character with whom many readers can identify. For instance, she is ashamed of her past. I did not personally think it was something so awful. However, Ms. Kolze takes care to create three dimensional characters with believable emotions. It is for this reason that readers understand why Eva feels the way she does and want things to work out for her.

What can I say about the secondary characters? They are as charming as the community of Bear. Each and every one of them brings richness to the story. Together they create a circle of friends for Eva that she never knew she needed or wanted. The interconnectedness of the characters reminds me of a Maeve Binchy novel.

I will admit that I was unsure about the involvement of a mystery as a subplot to the main story. In the beginning, I felt that it interrupted the pace of the story. Once the big reveal occurred, I found the novel to flow better and I was able to focus on the characters because I wasn’t trying to figure things out. Having said that, I applaud Ms. Kolze for taking a risk. She has introduced characters and storylines that are not cookie cutter. She is a creative storyteller from whom I look forward to reading more novels.

Thanks to Kathleen Kolze for the book in exchange for an honest review.


Goldie @ My Book Musings said...

Sounds like a really sweet book. I love it when characters are relateable, or even able to elicit sympathy even if you haven't gone through the same things. :)

Glad you enjoyed this book!

Janine said...

When I find a book with a character that I can relate to, I really enjoy it. I love seeing how everything turns out. If it gives me advice on something I'm going through, I like it even more.