A Pretty Age by Barbara Mueller | A Review

A Pretty AgeSynopsis: In 1910, a missionary visitor arrives at Sophiny Mumm’s convent boarding school in Concord, Kansas. Sophiny is smitten. Her best friend Antoinette Dominguez is not-and begins a series of strange behaviors breaking all the rules. From Sophiny she extracts three promises, a trunk exchange, and a staged fight before she elopes. Shortly thereafter, Sophiny learns that the missionary is not who he pretends to be and that her friend’s elopement has resulted in a mysterious disappearance. Antoinette’s puzzling diary gives clues about “guardians who cause us to lose our way.” The missionary reappears, and Sophiny is launched on a traveler’s tale of her own to search for her missing friend. In the investigation of puzzling enigmas, Sophiny has to use all the resources of emerging women’s rights, family relationships, social networks, the new technologies (telephone, photography, and transportation), and patron saints.  (Image and synopsis via Goodreads)

My Thoughts: A Pretty Age is a book I had hoped to enjoy more than I did. At times, the plot seemed to get skewed enough that I wanted to put the book down and never return to it.

However, the characters, Sophiny and Antoinette, were well developed and therefore captured my heart at once,and I could not leave them behind. I needed to know what happened in the end.

At times, the author is overly descriptive to the point of boring the reader as we want to get on with the story. The description in these sections lent no forward movement to the plot and story line. Also, at times the plot seemed to jump around and I would have to stop and think about what I’d last read and how what I was currently reading fit with that. Wasted reading time, in my opinion.

I have read other books published by WestBow Press and I suppose I expected more from this publisher. I understand this is Mueller’s debut novel but have read other debut novels which offered a great deal more in reader satisfaction than did A Pretty Age.

Meet the Author: Barbara Mueller recently retired from teaching English at a Southern California community college. For twenty-eight years, she taught composition and literature courses, including critical thinking, women’s literature, and Bible as literature. She now has time to think about the larger issues of what her grandmothers left her and what she wants to leave her grandchildren. Barbara grew up in Kansas and attended the same convent boarding school her grandmother attended. She loved the experience, as she knows her grandmother did. This is her first novel inspired by that experience, but all names, places, and events have been fictionalized. (Bio via WestBow Press)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of A Pretty Age from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.

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