Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Oenone

Oenone

By Agatha Rae


2 out of 5

Synopsis
Evelyn Dax is in love with her boss, Jeff Richards has an enemy and has been feeling a little cold lately, and Laura and Bruce Levinson have health problems. What does that all have to do with one Greek Nymph? Find out in this 378 page fantasy that reads like an independent film.

Synopsis:

Evelyn Dax is in love with her new boss, Jeff Richards. She does not want to reveal her feelings because of their professional relationship, however when Jeff asks her to accompany him during a business trip, the two spend a passionate night together.

Although attracted to Evy, Jeff decides to limit their relationship to business-related issues only, as he is afraid of any commitment.Soon after coming back to the office in Boston, Jeff faces a sabotage plot against him triggered by one of the board members of the company they both work for. He is given a difficult task to accomplish and if he fails, he will lose his job.

Laura Levinson, Evy’s best friend, learns she suffers from breast cancer and, with the support of her loving husband Bruce, she undergoes traumatic chemotherapy. While weakened and discouraged by the lack of progress with her treatment, she meets Alyssa, a healer, who miraculously helps her recover completely from her illness. 

Encouraged by Alyssa’s magic, Evelyn decides to seek her help regarding Jeff’s lack of attention. Soon the healer’s intervention is visible; Evy spends a passionate night with
what appears to be an imagined entity introducing itself as Jeff.At the same time, the real Jeff’s feelings towards Evelyn begin to change drastically and the more often the intimate distractions, first pleasant, later on disturbing, happen to Evy, the more Jeff resents her.

Shortly after Laura’s recovery, Bruce is diagnosed with lung cancer. All of these
strange events cause Evy to begin wondering who Alyssa really is...


Review
Normally I do my own take on the synopsis to open reviews; but as the author had kindly included two synopses above (which I lazily copy and paste from goodreads - my secret is out), I'm not going to test your patience with a third.

I thought that this would be perfect for me - a bit of romance, a bit of mythology...

There are two main points that reduced this to 2/5 for me:
1)  English is not the writer's first language, which is obvious in sections of text that make you stop and try and work out what they mean.  A mild example:

"Evy, at the same time, was very much surprised that Jeff's words did not trigger absolutely any reaction from her side."

I found it very hard to push through.  Fair enough, Rae wants to put her book out in English, I encourage and welcome it - but I would have liked this book to go through an English editor to get, not just the words right, but the meaning that is obscured.

2)  The book felt like it was chopped into 3 very distinct sections:
i)  Standard chicklit, where Evy moons over her boss Jeff; and her best-friend, Laura, provides the emotional turmoil when she discovers she has cancer.
ii)  After seeking alternative therapy, Laura recovers.  Then the world is turned upside-down when Laura's husband gets cancer.  Evy starts to have realistic fantasies about Jeff; but he starts to turn cold to her.
iii)  Evy and Laura discover that their "healer" is Oenone - a nymph from Greek mythology associated with Paris of Troy.  Oenone has decided to play with these mortals, for her own entertainment.

For the first 3/4 of the book, I felt that the way it was narrated, the story had nothing to do with a Greek Nymph.  I enjoy reading new interpretations of Mythology, and I failed to enjoy any of this.  It felt like Oenone was tacked on to this story to make it "different", rather than the driving force behind it.

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