Review: Hawthorne By Sarah Ballance

Hawthorne By Sarah Ballance
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher:  Astraea Press
Pages: 63
Source:  Publisher

After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home. She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace. In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything. What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?


Review: This is a very short story, but a well written one. The opening grabs you right away when you ‘feel’ what Emma Grace felt upon her return to her childhood home after 10 years.  A horrible and frightening event happened when she was only 17 that left so many lives changed; Emma Grace’s, Noah’s and Margaret’s, Emma’s grandmother.

The characters were well developed for such a short story, but there was still enough mystery surrounding Emma Grace and Noah, that the ending is surprising.

The one thing that pulled me out of the story a time or two was the author’s use of some of her descriptive words. She used words that seemed more to impress rather than enhance the story. There were a couple of times they didn’t seem to be the right choice. For example; “They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful.” I think I know what the author was getting at, but ‘condescending’ seems to be an odd choice of words.

Even with the occasional odd descriptive word pulling you out of the story, which thankfully is only in the very early part of the story, it is a good read. The ending is surprising, but there were a few comments in the story that made more sense once you reached the end.

I enjoyed the bittersweet story…while the twist ending was wonderfully done, one can’t help but wish life could always be, “Happy Ever After”!