Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Certainty

by Victor Bevine

Why did you choose this book? the synopsis hooked me
When did you read this book? October 2014
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy a character-driven story based on true events
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of Certainty from TLC Book Tours

When you’re fighting an injustice, can it be wrong to do what’s right?
Inspired by the scandalous true story that shocked a nation at the close of WWI.

With America’s entry into World War I, the population of Newport, Rhode Island seems to double overnight as twenty-five thousand rowdy recruits descend on the Naval Training Station. Drinking, prostitution, and other depravities follow the sailors, transforming the upscale town into what many residents—including young lawyer William Bartlett, whose genteel family has lived in Newport for generations—consider to be a moral cesspool.
When sailors accuse a beloved local clergyman of sexual impropriety, William feels compelled to fight back. He agrees to defend the minister against the shocking allegations, in the face of dire personal and professional consequences. But when the trial grows increasingly sensational, and when outrageous revelations echo all the way from Newport to the federal government, William must confront more than just the truth—he must confront the very nature of good and evil.

Based on real-life events, Certainty recalls a war-torn era when the line between right and wrong became dangerously blurred.

My Review

This is a character-driven story, and because of that, it took awhile for the story to grab me. Once it did though, it was hard for me to put the book down. The story is based on a little-known incident from post-WWI, when the Navy, with the blessing of FDR, attempted to eliminate ‘depravity’ from the navy; in other words, they went after homosexuals. I knew nothing of this, but like all good historical fiction does, this novel motivated me to fire up Google!

One character that intrigued me was William Bartlett, the defense attorney, a man caught between eras. He believed in traditional values and was struggling to embrace the ‘women’s lib’ of the time; voting rights for women. Even more he was struggling with the decision to defend Reverend Kent, the man accused of ‘sexual impropriety'. William did not question the innocence and goodness of the Reverend Kent, but he did question his role in the situation. He had no real experience in a case like this and questioned whether another attorney might be a better choice for defending Kent. But even more, he wavered over putting his job and the social status his family on the line to defend the Reverend. Watching his personal struggle over doing the right thing vs doing the safe thing was intriguing. Another interesting character was Charlie McKinney, one of the alleged victims of Reverend Kent, who had his own struggles with right and wrong.

Even more than the story or the characters, though, I enjoyed the writing! The detail and descriptive language let me feel like I was seeing things with my own eyes. Here is just one example from the beginning of chapter eight.

“The backyard of the Bartlett home was large and sprawling, with a broad well-manicured lawn and trees that gave shade, flowers, or fruit as spring and summer waxed and waned. There were red maples and oaks, ornamental cherry trees and dogwoods, gnarled apple trees of various sorts, and a large cling peach tree, a species not meant to thrive in the New England climate. On a summer day in 1886, against the expert advice of a host of afternoon party guests, William’s grandmother Sophie planted teh pit of an especially luscious peach she’d just eaten and, to her satisfaction, survived to see the thing bear fruit enough for several season’s worth of pies and preserves.”

Pick this one up if you enjoy a well-written, character-driven novel that will give you a peek into the minds of people in the WWI era!

About Victor Bevine

For over thirty years, Victor Bevine has worked as an actor, screenwriter, audio book narrator, director, and more. A graduate of Yale University, his acting credits include many prestigious roles onstage as well as roles in the film version of A Separate Peace and countless television shows. He has read over one hundred and eighty titles as an audiobook narrator; in 2010, he received an Audiophone Award for his narration of the Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Beak of the Finch. He has written several screenplays, including Certainty, which was chosen for two prestigious writers’ conferences and which served as the basis for his first novel. His thirty-minute short film Desert Cross, which he wrote and directed, won accolades at the Athens International Film Festival. Currently, he serves as CEO of the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF), of which he is co-founder. He resides in New York City.

Connect with Victor

My Rating:  ★★★1/2   3-1/2 Stars

This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes and have written an honest review which appears above.

Victor’s Tour Stops

Monday, October 20th: Time 2 Read
Tuesday, October 21st: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, October 22nd:  Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, October 23rd: Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, October 24th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, October 27th: Sarah’s Book Shelves
Tuesday, October 28th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, October 28th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, October 29th: Bell, Book & Candle
Thursday, October 30th:  Joyfully Retired
Monday, November 3rd: Books a la Mode - guest post
Tuesday, November 4th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Wednesday, November 5th: Readers’ Oasis
Thursday, November 6th: Back Porchervations
Monday, November 10th: ebookclassics
Tuesday, November 11th: Nightly Reading
Wednesday, November 12th: BookNAround
Thursday, November 13th: Books on the Table
Monday, November 17th: Life is Story
Friday, November 21st:: FictionZeal

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  1. I'm looking forward to this! I'm on the tour, in November, and I haven't started it yet. Hope it will be a great read.

  2. I had never heard of this sad era in history before this book but I'm glad it's coming to light now in such a readable book!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. This soubds really interesting! I love historical fiction that captures the feel of another era and I also enjoy little known stories :)