“We are all accidents, stray atoms wandering around”
– Guido, For the Love of Anna
In James Lawless’s latest work, For Love of Anna, the main character Guido is an aimless young man whose purpose in life and political ambitions come to life after meeting and falling in love with Anna, a young dancer. Their love story crosses paths with the corrupt and morally bankrupt Judge Delahyde, which then leads to dire consequences and hard choices for everyone involved. This book was found on Cheap eBooks, a Novel Finds Reading List.
One of the qualities of the book is that it was instantly apparent with how well developed all of the characters were. Guido, Anna, the Judge and even Anna’s crippled mother—the reader is introduced to well-drawn out characters whose actions and the motives behind it are clearly understood. This is demonstrated very clearly with the character of Judge Delahyde. He is the villain of this tale, and any less experienced writer could have turned him into a one-dimensional character, but Lawless molds the Judge into a multi-dimensional villain with a past and clearly defined-motives.
Another great aspect of this book was the use of language and descriptions. Reading this book often felt like observing a wistful and colorful painting. For example:
“The streets are lighting up the darkening evening with their orange glow before turning white. There’s an uncustomary stillness in the street, no rattle from the window, the snowy look still in the sky”
There is no doubt that Lawless knows how to use words to conjure beautiful scenes and render great feelings within his readers.
However, the positives of this book do stop there. While I was deeply intrigued and emotionally invested into the lives of the characters, the story’s structure and pace was very frustrating to get through. Many times, it felt like dragging my feet through the mud. I just wanted to wash my feet clean and be on with the next scene or action, but was always held down into one scene, or a particular feeling.
The author’s choice of writing the story in present tense, while effective in getting into the minds of the characters, further dragged the pace of the storytelling. As a result, it takes a while to get into the story and to become acquainted with the characters and all of their individual story lines and the dreams that drive them. I have no doubt that if the pace of book picked up, the outcome of this review would have been different.
For the Love of Anna is a beautifully written novel about love and vengeance that takes too long to get to the point–and when it finally does, ends too abruptly.
★ ★ ★
For Love of Anna by James Lawless
287 pages. Amazon Digital Services LLC.