The Philistine Heart immediately throws me off because it’s written in the 1st person – a mode that is extremely difficult to write in and to maintain. It is frowned upon by many publishers for this reason because writers will attempt to write in the 1st person and then slip back and forth into 3rd person. Moreover, reading 1st person writing is not easy, which is why many novels are written in the 3rd person. While the author manages to maintain 1st person with frequency, she does inevitably slip into 3rd, which doesn’t surprise me. Personally, I only know of a handful of authors who have successfully pulled off 1st person writing.
It is clear that the author is relying upon the “sex sells” theory in order to entice readers, because her entire first chapter is very pornographic; however, it leaves the reader feeling anything but satisfied. The writing is stilted, as if the author is trying to imagine how to be sexy, but the imagination falls exceedingly short. The entire scene is over as quick as it can be read concluding with a very flat, unconvincing dialogue. Basically, the author rushes the entire scene. Even in the most fast-paced encounters, more interaction and foreplay take place. This scene was supposed to be a game of enticement, but the author’s lackluster writing made me feel as if I was reading a poorly-written instruction manual instead of participating. A well-written scene should draw me in, leave me breathless, and make me feel as if I just engaged in coitus.
Moreover, the writer appears to intimate that the female lead enjoys the game with her lover; however, at the end of chapter 1, she expresses dissatisfaction with him and is far from eager to continue the game when he states he is ready for round two. Until that point, the reader is given the impression she would enjoy round two, three, and four, so the shift in mood is just as clipped as the sex scene. Oddly, as the story progresses, she continues her sexual banter with great enthusiasm, yet the pendulum of “yes, I want” to “I’m not satisfied” is redundantly aggravating.
The end of the first chapter is meant to provide a smooth segue into Chapter 2, where the actual story appears to begin, but, again, it’s as if the author just throws it together without thought; as if she can’t quite decide how to transition from sex to dialogue naturally. At one point, the author states that she and her lover’s dialogue sounds like a “cheesy porn” and I would have to agree.
Although well-written mechanically (good grammar, spelling, punctuation), the story is ho-hum (in reality, very boring) and is rushed and stilted. The dialogue does not flow naturally and the characters are cookie-cutter with little depth and even less originality. I should feel sympathy or empathy for the main character and her plight – both with her job and her conflict of attractions – however, all I feel is annoyed and bored. The author is writing a porn, plain and simple, and is filling in the gaps with a mundane, unimaginative story. Even those who enjoy a good sex novel will be let down by her attempts. I certainly was.
Recommended reading? Not really.
Who I Am...
My name is Barbara Woster. I am an author, business owner, and an educator. Writing is my passion, but I also enjoy providing insight for aspiring authors. Additionally, I review work by other writers upon request. To have your book reviewed, simply get in touch.