Though I haven’t been as diligent a book nerd this year as I have been in years past, recently I’ve read a few books that I’ve loved, including Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley, Austenland by Shannon Hale, and Love, Life, & Fairytale by Vickie Valladares. When I was first pursuing publication for Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl, I messaged Vickie on Goodreads for her input on her publisher. She was very kind and honest with me in her answers provided to my questions. Though she spoke well of the publisher, I decided to self-publish my novel, and promised her I’d read her novel. A year later, I’ve finally fulfilled my promise! Without further ado, here’s my review of Love, Life, & Fairytale!
The structure of LL&F is broken into three storylines: Love, where a single woman–Carole Ann–is trying to get over her crush on an engaged man; Life, where a tragedy I won’t spoil takes its toll on a family; and Fairytale, where an orphaned young woman deals with the struggle of growing up in a broken home and ends up working the streets. As a writer, I’m personally not a fan of using third person narrative in my novels, but I feel that Vickie juggled it well, especially with the story shifting its focus between the three plot lines. Over time however, the plot lines begin to merge, and I absolutely love the outcome.
I’ll try not to spoil the details of the novel, but I will say this: I love the fact that Mrs. Valladares spoke of the sins that plagued the characters, giving it just enough detail to resonate with readers without becoming too graphic. Sometimes there is a stigma against discussing the roots, or the depth that certain sins have, in Christian fiction; and I get it, we don’t want to make our writing seem worldly or make others wary of reading it because these issues are discussed. But, at the same time, the more I read books like this where the sins are accurately portrayed, their consequences are discussed, and the characters are redeemed with God’s forgiveness instead of chastised by the congregation, the more I feel we as Christian authors can spread the love of Christ to others. If we write about issues that lost souls can relate to, we can use novels like LL&F to be a light of Christ to them.
Overall, I believe Mrs. Valladares’s debut novel is one in which every Christian who has been asking themselves “Where’s God?”needs to read. I myself have been struggling lately, asking God why He allows certain things to happen, but LL&F brought me full-circle. Thank you, Vickie, for an awesome read and for your help last year!