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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Strength of a Sparrow - Tim Anders

"The Strength of a Sparrow" is a catchy urban romance with generous helpings of suspense, discovery and family history. Largely seen through the eyes of a young actress, Bouvette Sherwood, and based on her true life experience, this story is an interesting read.

The story begins in an Italian restaurant in the upper east side of Manhattan in 1946. A 25 year old Bouvette meets Hughie, a distinguished older man with a taste for Dewar's White Label Scotch. Bouvette, or "Boo" as her friends call her, learns more about Hughie, she finds he has a secret. He is a Roman Catholic priest.

As their romance develops, so does the intrigue of a forbidden relationship. Time and passion raise the stakes, and when Bouvette becomes pregnant, the story becomes a full fledged suspense. This developing romance with its surprising twists builds velocity as it moves along. It's well paced and filled with warmly developed characters and locales that sparkle with personality.

"The Strength of a Sparrow" is a rich and structurally complex story. The changes between the viewpoint characters, Bouvette and Hughie, are unusual for a traditional romance. Another viewpoint character, the author, appears late in the story to add another colorful square to this interestingly quilted, patchwork story. Bouvette and Hughie each make some hard choices and those decisions determine lives are changed lives forever. The story morphs into autobiography there, closing the curtain on the author's parent's romance.

Because this story is based on events that really happened and involves real people with real human strengths and weaknesses, some scenes are intense.