Where Honesty Never Ends.
Greetings! The Review Board here to share its thoughts on Heart of Eternity by N. Jay. Before proceeding, let’s see what this work is all about, courtesy of Wordsmith Andi and Amazon.
Blurb via Amazon:
When you are invited to dance with the muse of love, when you are driven to the edge by the pain of the past, when you hold the remedy for what ails you in your arms you will find yourself in the heart of eternity.
Set in the Blue Mountain’s town of Blackheath in New South Wales, Australia, the novel Heart of Eternity introduces two very different characters, Jay and Naida, who encounter each other at a challenging time in each of their lives. Their individual expressions of the feelings they provoke in each other give rise to a turmoil that could ultimately claim their lives. When two people understand so deeply the pain each other has faced will it force them into the abyss of darkness or will their combined need for healing allow love to enter both their hearts?
Speaking of the Wordsmith, here she is with her review:
Wordsmith’s Genre Classification: Contemporary Romance
Heart of Eternity is a book unlike any I have read before. Well-written and crafted, the story of Jay and Naida is richly interwoven with unexpected, insightful doses of abstract spiritualism. Readers looking for a light read should be cautioned to pass this book by; the story’s intellectual examination of light versus dark, healing versus destructive energies – the eternal battle between Love and Fear goes beyond mere archetypes and formula plot structure and takes a much deeper, inspired, almost metaphysical approach to romance.
I appreciated the almost direct opposition between the characters of Jay and Naida and, for awhile, wondered exactly how the two were connected as each character was introduced and brought to life in my imagination.
Jay, full of darkness and not only aware of his destructive choices in life but reveling in them, is an elusive, mysterious figure, embracing risk and danger with more affection and commitment than any of the lovers he takes. We get to know him through the filter of his friends’ perspectives and then, finally, from his unique voice. Even from the start of the story his rigid adherence to living life by his dark rules incited in me an almost motherly instinct in wanting to ease whatever fear lay so deeply entrenched in his heart that he felt the need to behave and interact with such deliberate malice. As such Naida’s reaction to him was more than understandable.
Naida, full of light and a compulsion to heal not just her self but others in need, is a beautiful soul plagued by a cancerous tumor that threatens her life. Eschewing modern medical approaches, she seeks out the aid of her paternal uncle, Zachriel, a mystic and spiritual healer who has always inspired her, their shared unique perspectives on the world serving to have connected them from her childhood. Zachriel takes her into his tutelage and begins to show her how to fight her inner demons to reach her healing center. But in the process of doing so Naida encounters a shadow demon in her heart whose presence blocks her healing energies. Knowing she can progress no further until she finds this man and heals the pain residing inside him, Naida invests all of her energies in this new effort.
The two meet almost by accident or some act of divine guidance and the emotions between them are instantaneous. Naida recognizes in Jay the demon haunting her thoughts and the shadows cloaking her heart. Jay senses in her a woman of uncharacteristic emotional fortitude and strength and this scares him, knowing he cannot break her and vindicate his fear-maligned perception of self. His fear casts them apart as quickly as they come together, as he struggles to put physical distance between them. The darkness in him has a firm hold; Jay wages an inner war as he yearns for the redemption Naida offers and fends off the darkness of his ego.
The finale of the story was shocking but does incredible justice to the power of sacrifice in the name of Love in conquering the error of Fear and ego’s dominion over the human spirit.
My compliments to N. Jay for crafting such a unique emotional connection between two characters brought to vivid life on the page. It is clear she writes from a place of deep personal belief, or at least extensive research. I read this story, imbibing the supporting and deriving abstract concepts with eager relish. N. Jay delivers romance on both the physical and metaphysical levels and does both with astonishing aplomb.
I do have some notable mentions that do affect the rating given to Heart of Eternity.
Page 29: He had been encouraging her to give in, wearing her down, knowing it wouldn’t take long to have her, He had always been a good player, and he played to the rules exceptionally well. (He had been encouraging her to give in, wearing her down, knowing it wouldn’t take long to have her.)
Page 29: Charlotte had never felt such an essential lust for any man.Their bodies rasped against each other and the abrading sensation as Jay slid his hand on her lips aroused Charlotte even more. (missing a space between sentences)
Page 33: “Through a source, right…? So, by any chance, is it possible for the sufferer to be the healer at once?” she asked cautiously. (this should start a new paragraph) Zachriel picked up a stone from the ground and determined its weight speculatively as he replied, “I knew right from the start that you were strong mentally and spiritually, which is why you have not fainted or felt weak during the remedial sessions, although I have been expeditiously projecting the Divine Energy in you. My dear, you have the potential to become a powerful healer, if that’s what you’re asking. In fact…your receptivity and power of belief reminds me of someone. (missing closing quotation)
Page 37: Ricky knew Jay had done this to save him and it didn’t help to see his friend bruised and bleeding, yes, victorious, yes and_happy[…] (unnecessary underscore)
Page 57: She slowly closed her eyes while wisps of her long, silky, sand y brown hair[…] (extra space in sandy)
Page 57: She had no idea how long she stood there, trying to draw in the tranquillity (misspelled) of the scene that surrounded her, until her (unnecessary word) the old man’s voice rose in her head.
Page 86: Please…do not try to stop me. (missing closing quotation) Naida let her head rest on his knee and implored amid tears.
Page 87: Let go Jay…you have to let go,”. (extra period)
Page 100: “You! (unnecessary exclamation point and subsequent capitalization of the following word) Simply cannot cast off my dark armour and take on the shield of light without going on war with your dark forces!
If the author had submitted a final proof this book would have easily scored a full ten star rating instead of the 8 I am giving it.
Now let’s check out what Nikki sees in the story!
Nikki’s Genre Classification: Verbose and preachy spiritual romance
This is a kind of paranormal/religious romance book, I think. It is written from the point of view of Nadia and Jay, two seemingly opposite characters, as they go on a spiritual journey of self-discovery. Okay, I didn’t have a problem with that. I did however have a problem with the writing. Too many adjectives and a crazy beginning that put me off. It was just too effusive – I almost felt sick with the plethora of adverbs and adjectives that were thrown onto the page. There was repetition of words throughout; a Thesaurus would have come in handy I think.
Anyway, the story: Naida has cancer and refuses traditional treatment in favour of spiritual healing. Her parents are upset. She goes off on her spiritual journey. Then there is Jay. Hold on, Jay? Isn’t that the author’s name? He is a troubled soul in need of healing and Nadia may just well be that light at the end of his dark tunnel. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I found the narrative style, which leant itself to high fantasy rather than a spiritual journey of a young woman trying to come to terms with her disease and the meaning of life, irritating. Most of the time I thought I was reading a fictionalised Buddhist leaflet about truth and enlightenment.
I didn’t care for Naida’s voice; it came across as somewhat pompous. Indeed all of the voices N. Jay employs throughout the novella sound similar. Naida’s use of language seemed out of context to the time the story is set in. She speaks as though she is caught inside a Jane Austen novel: “You love to rationalize just about everything, don’t you father, since there is no bigger reality that exists outside the domain of this material world of yours where everything has to be justified. Why are you not able to ascertain the glorious symphony in the conflicting forces of nature.” This kind of un-naturalistic dialogue reads more like a lecture than a real conversation.
There were a few typos/missing words and sometimes the sentences were meaningless, or at least odd in their construction: “The practical disparity between their views was getting much more pronounced and Naida Stood firmly on her decision while her father tried in vain to persuade her. For what had seemed like a harmless pain in the stomach, turned out to be something harmful; Naida was diagnosed with germ cell tumor that had protruded her stomach.”
Some word choices were weird. When Charlotte and Jay get it on, the ensuing sex scene is described as somewhat painful, yet she is aroused: “Their bodies rasped against each other and the abrading sensation as Jay slid his hands on her lips aroused Charlotte even more.” Why was he sliding his hands on her lips? Did the author perhaps mean, ‘hips’?
Most of the story, especially Jay’s, was told in great globs of backstory that made the narrative lumpy. There was simply too much exposition when each new character was introduced. We get a long explanation of who they are and their life story. There was very little actual action and interaction for my tastes. The chapter with Zachriel is almost all back story written as a list rather than shown as scenes.
I did not think that the characters were well defined, and often I thought they were there merely to act as mouthpieces for the narrator to get her point across: “…Everybody else was travelling within their physical realm but not her. Her journey’s end was somewhere inside the deepest abyss of her soul’s kingdom where she must discover the in knowing. She was ready to descend into the very depths of her heart. She was ready to enter…”
Vision Verdict: 4 out of 10 TRB Stars
There is little romance in this book, and love seems to come at quite a price. I think the author is trying too hard to be philosophical and spiritual and to get her message across about what love is and how we can access our inner demons and ultimately heal our sick souls. It could have been deep and meaningful, but I’m afraid the language and narrative style destroyed the subtleties and substance in this story. Some may well get a lot from reading this novella, but I’m afraid I didn’t. Perhaps I am too cynical and not yet ready to be mindful enough to access my spiritual side. Or perhaps, N. Jay could edit her story and try to be less verbose and preachy.
Now let’s add the scores and divide by two:
Overall Heart of Eternity by N. Jay gets 6 out of 10 TRB Stars.
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