Publication Date: January 9, 2014
In Rachel’s Folly by Monica Bruno, Rachel Richards has a happy marriage, a great child, a loving brother and a best friend getting married when she makes a drunken choice that changes everything. Is Jack who he seems to be or something more dark and dangerous than she could have ever imagined?
The author, Monica Bruno, gave me an advanced reader’s copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
In requesting this review, the author Monica Bruno asked that I should not give away any spoilers in the course of my assessment. In order to determine what this author might find to be spoilers, I read the description sent with the request. The result is that this is going to be a very general review.
Rachel’s Folly is a story told in three parts. The first portion is from Rachel’s point of view; the second part is told by Rachel’s brother and the third part follows one of the patients from Rachel’s family therapy practice. Technically, Rachel’s Folly is a competently constructed thriller. Bruno rounds out the edges of her characters as she goes along. Each character experiences a moment of insight related to the story and each character copes or doesn’t with that moment in a different way, but none of them are especially appealing. Rachel is the unifying character connecting the rest of the cast, but with the exception of the two main characters, we don’t see that connection. We’re told that she and the bride, Elena, are best friends. We’re told about their past, but we don’t see that connection in real time, and it could be because we’re so in the moment with the story.
Bruno deals with difficult topics in something of a realistic way. Rachel reacts to the stress in her life with physical activity, specifically running. This is a coping mechanism Bruno clearly knows well so that she’s able to tone and push her character in what Rachel acknowledges is her escape, her addiction.
That is not to say that as a reader I found the plot compelling. We have a shocking moment midway through the story that redirects the direction of the storyline, and while that adds a dimension to what has been a work-a-day story, it didn’t jump-start interest for this reader. Bruno lost me early on, and it wasn’t because this was a bad novel or that the story lacked a unique perspective but because the way it was presented was just not a story that kept my attention. I was briefly brought into the story by the mother who preached end-of-the-world and sinners repenting, but I am aware that the element was interesting because my mother is the same way, though not so abrasive and one-dimensional.
What Bruno does really well is conveying her setting. The story is set in Austin, Texas, an area the author clearly knows well and is able to capture it in the snapshots in which we see the characters out and about. Perhaps it’s a case of transference, but as a reader, I found a real sense of a contemporary Southern city including little tidbits of the actual Austin enhanced the flavor.
If you like Danielle Steele or V.C. Andrews and the way those authors frame their characters, you will like Monica Bruno. This is a four-star book for a lot of readers, so if you read the description and feel compelled, pick it up and let me know what you think of the work.
Read an excerpt and buy Rachel’s Folly by Monica Bruno on