Saturday, 14 March 2020

A Widow's Tale by Frances Paul

A Widow's Tale by Frances Paul
Published by EllenMark Press on the 21st January 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A trained killer. One kill list. A world of hurt.

In this novel author Frances Paul introduces a complex and driven young lady determined to uncover the truth surrounding the murders of her parents and to bring to justice the people responsible for the cruel act. 

Karina Navarre, a Cuban national lived a life that would be described as anything but easy. After witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, Karina’s life spiraled out of control—until a former KGB officer agreed to take her under his wing and train her. 

Eight years later the girl who has been discarded and forgotten is introduced to the underworld, resilient and ready to take her life back. But when tragedy strikes again, Karina turns into a force to be reckoned with, a woman out for revenge. 

Fueled by her grief, Karina sets off on a breathtaking journey of twists and turns, fighting in a world where women are deemed inferior. But she’s determined to avenge the deaths of those she lost, even if that means risking everything including her own life in the process.
Karina Navarre has a list, and she’s crossing off names…one by bloody one.

Thrilling, unpredictable, fast-paced, and powered by a grieved widow’s inexorable sense of duty.

I'm really undecided how I feel about A Widow's Tale by Frances Paul. It's admittedly not my usual reading genre so my reactions might result from leaving my comfort zone. However, while certain scenes had me gripped, I also nearly DNFd this novel twice. Aspects I particularly enjoyed were when we got to see our heroine, Karina, in action. She's a kick-ass assassin and the head of an Argentinean drug dealing family - neither of which are the usual career choices for fictional women - so I appreciated how Paul has turned gender stereotypes upside down in this way. There's lots of macho tough talk which is entertaining and Paul writes her action scenes as though they were movie clips which results in a fast, exciting pace as bullets fly and buildings explode.

I struggled, though, with Paul's idiosyncratic writing style. She frequently uses disjointed sentence fragments and jumps between tenses. Initially I blamed poor proofreading or insufficient editing, but this style remains consistent over the five hundred pages of A Widow's Tale and I did become accustomed to it eventually. As A Widow's Tale is an action read, there is limited emphasis given to the characters' emotional development. When crime family is pitted against crime family, not getting shot is a much higher priority for most of them! I would have preferred deeper motivations than the spiralling eye for an eye revenge scenarios. I'm not sure that I would personally venture into another Frances Paul novel after reading this one, but, for action thriller fans who are already chafing at self-isolation, A Widow's Tale could provide plenty of exciting escapism!

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  1. I really like the sound of the assassin character and how tough and no nonsense she seems to be. And I have discovered I really enjoy reading books about assassins! However, I don't think I could manage through 500 pages !! of jumping tenses and such. It seems like it wouldn't be a writing style for me either :(

    1. It's a shame because there's good points about A Widow's Tale, but I felt that it does need a polish