Publication Date: January 17, 2018
In Gables Court by Alan S. Kessler, Samuel Bass moves from New England to Gables Court in Miami. When he meets Katie, he’s a virgin waiting for marriage and the attraction, for him, is instant. She’s a college student looking to experience life and wants to have sex without strings. In the meantime, Bass’s life is complicated when the young lawyer’s new clients attract the interest of his crime lord father.
I received a hard copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review.
Gables Court is a story that meanders. The story takes place over a decade of Samuel’s life and follows him as he starts his career and makes his way through the years. He longs for love but will it happen for him? Kessler is a storyteller. In this character-driven work of fiction, the people are the point.
There are no dynamic characters in the piece. Samuel is a bit naive when we meet him. Things in the story seem to happen to him, instead of his making them happen. He’s wide-eyed and innocent and in a rare twist in any genre but Christian, pure and intending to stay that way. The background characters are all fully formed with life stories that pour from them like really cheap wine when they meet Samuel. He goes to his landlord’s office to find the wife who immediately tells him of her struggles to have a child and the reason for her doll collection. Where new friends pour their souls, the women he desires seem focused on leading him astray. There’s a one-dimensional whore quality to them that strikes this reader as allegorical. Samuel’s father is also a character that would seemingly lead him astray. While I know, we must suspend disbelief when reading, are we to believe the son of a crime boss would be so heartless as the character we’re presented?
Kessler shows great skill in the painting of his setting. Readers can feel the heat and, if you’ve been to Florida in the summertime, hear the wings of the palmetto bugs hitting as they run across a surface. There are some high point topics hit but mostly the story rolls with no sense of urgency allowing everyone to say what they need to say and Samuel to do what he will ultimately be led to do.
There’s a vintage vibe to the piece that is cool, but is it interesting? That is a question with which I struggled throughout Gables Court. There are times when the people are so fascinating that they reflect that charm into a plot progression that didn’t quite live up. While I really enjoyed Gables Court, I wouldn’t recommend it for every reader. If you’re interested in psychology and character-driven pieces, give the story a shot. If you like action, Gables Court is not the book for you.
Look, the bottom line in Gables Court is a good read. Did it go as I expected reading the description? No. That said, it’s a literary work and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Pick it up and give it a shot and let me know what you think.
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