Friday, May 2, 2014
Book Review: "When I See Your Face" by Devika Fernando (Smashwords Author)
Devika Fernando’s “When I See Your Face” is a story that I was eager to read, even though eking out time to read it was a bit of a problem. This story is particularly close to my heart, for many reasons, not least of which is the yummy guy-next-door hero, Michael Newland. This debutant romance author (who is also foraying into paranormal romance now) spins a tale of true love between the unlikeliest pair.
They find love in a hopeless situation and place, which could have been disastrous considering the very strong theme that runs through the story. But Devika Fernando manages to weave a rich, emotional tapestry that makes for a sweet journey.
Cathy Nolan is that likely girl who lives next door. Except, the next door is a mansion and she is married to a real-estate mogul who is the very epitome of rich, handsome and successful: Mark Nolan. He is also that very ordinary creature. A man who abuses his wife just because she is there.
“When I See Your Face” opens with a very strong scene where Cathy has finally gathered the guts to leave her abusive husband and start a new life somewhere else. She is full of determination, even though her situation and her control over it is so precarious. She is in a daze yet she is hopeful, I fell for Cathy immediately. She arrives in the proverbial charming village full of helpful village folk and soon settles down into her new life.
It is not the best or wisest choice to have your hero look like the villain but Devika’s Michael is the carbon copy of Cathy’s tormentor, which, of course, has her reacting predictably when she spies him for the first time. When the misunderstanding (and of course, it is one, Michael is not Mark!) is cleared up, she knows she has to make amends to this stranger whose face is a constant reminder of all that she had lost.
What begins as a simple apology turns into a beautiful friendship mixed with a few nasty surprises along the way, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Cathy could have come off as weak, sniveling, willing to latch onto the next available protector who appears in her life, but instead she is strong, makes her own decisions, even though they may not be visible even to the reader as we go through the pages. Her idea of becoming a baker is executed with some amount of panache, which is just right, because Cathy is not flashy at all. She is simple, a homemaker who got a raw deal and is now learning to be independent using the limited but talented skills she has.
Which woman cannot identify with such a heroine?
Add in, the dilemma of falling for the wrong man, not once but twice! And you have a story that is full of pathos, drama and a fair bit of mystery too. Deft touch that, Devika!
Michael’s gardener-artist turn is fairly believable mostly because of the easygoing manner in which he has been portrayed. As his instant attraction to the delicate Cathy. And the supporting cast of characters, (including the aforementioned villain) have been sketched out well too.
If the pace of the story lags a bit in the middle, for lack of passionate interludes, it is because I am used to reading romance of a different kind. Fast-paced, filled with physical gratification and high-voltage drama. The end, when it came, was devoured by me because the story does pick up once the author really gets into the skin of her characters.
“When I See Your Face” is a love story. Period.
Old-fashioned, filled with truisms that resonate in my heart even now, and the vivid descriptions of flowers, foliage, nature and gardening had me concluding that the writer knows her flowers and is in love with them. It shows.
Read it on a lazy summer-afternoon when you need sweet, dreamy thoughts and an ending that can only be described as a new-beginning!
Recommended to all fans of sweet-romance!
VERDICT: Sweet ballerinas for a honey of a story!
Aarti V Raman aka Writer Gal