This is a review of the novel Doxology, by Brian Holers, as part of the Novel Publicity whirlwind blog tour.
I will admit straight up that as someone who was not brought up in a religious household, I had to look the word “Doxology” up in the dictionary to have an inkling of what the book was about. I will also admit that I sometimes struggle with overtly religious texts, as without any religious background I simply can’t relate to them. From that perspective, Doxology was a pleasant surprise.
The novel chronicles the respective journeys of Vernon Davidson and his nephew Jody, as they come together at the illness and subsequent death of Jody’s father Leonard, and the challenges and personal growth they achieve as a result.
While not overtly religious, with the exception of the final chapter, I still found this book difficult to get into. My pedantic eye spotted errors in editing – changes of tense within scenes, particularly during the many flashbacks that make up much of the first half of the book, was a particular bugbear – and there seemed to be more points of view shown than required. I could understand that we were following Vernon and Jody on their journeys, but the POV of Jody’s workmate and potential brother-in-law Art, for example, feels ill-judged. We only get a couple of Art POV chapters, and while they reveal some backstory they don’t seem to fit with the flow of the rest of the book. Put another way, I couldn’t help but feel that this exposition could have been done another – better – way.
In addition, some of the characters feel they were put in for the sake of distraction more than anything else. While the history of Jody and his brother Scooter is interesting, Scooter’s actual involvement in the story is minimal and disappointing. Similarly, Vernon’s deliberately antagonistic workmate seems to exist only as an outlet for Vernon’s pent-up frustration at the end of the book. Again, while these characters have their moments, they feel underdone, caricatured in their own ways.
Having said that, though, overall it was an interesting and thought-provoking book. The way Vernon’s and Jody’s lives intertwine in a way that is both difficult and beneficial to both of them is well done, and the ultimate acceptance they show is reassuring and uplifting in what could have been a very depressing novel. Put another way, they find peace when they didn’t necessarily realise they needed it. Overall, this book is a good, solid début novel, and the author shows a lot of promise for future projects.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents (US) this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
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