Where Honesty Never Ends.
Skylark by Ruthie Morgan
Amazon Author Page
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to The Review Board in exchange for an honest review.
“When he asked me to forgive him for everything I thought I could. I said yes and I meant it. But I didn’t realise that night, everything was what he’d take away.” When Billie May Worthington falls for Evan Skylark she believes she’d do anything, be anything and give everything for him. But can she forgive him when he asks for her world? Everything twenty one year old Billie knows about life, love, beauty and art are challenged after graduation when she meets Evan, an enigmatic Irish artist with a dark side. Suddenly immersed in Evan’s intense world of artistic brilliance, flying sculptures and sexual obsession, Billie’s carefully planned future is quickly unrecognisable. Spanning London, Paris, Scotland and finally St. Cloud, the South Pacific island they make their home, the young couple chase Evans dreams and run from their past. But what happens to young obsessive love when unplanned pregnancy reshapes the future? As Billie struggles to cope with the demands of motherhood Evan is forced to deal with the repercussions of a previous mistake that rock their world altering the future forever. Emotionally gripping and darkly humorous Skylark is an unconventional love story. A novel about what we do for love, of beauty in imperfection, betrayal and the weight of obsession.
Hello and welcome to The Review Board. Today The Review Board takes a look at “Skylark” by Ruthie Morgan. Giving their insight on said book is Mini Truth and The Unleashed One. First, let’s look at the truth.
Rhetorical Question: Have you ever picked up a book which you initially had high hopes for due to the blurb and previous reviews, only to dive into it and be severely let down?
On the surface, anyone judging this book by its cover, blurb and past reviews would be led to believe that it’s a book worth investing your money and time in reading.
Unfortunately, sometimes, the surface can be very misleading. However, once again I might be getting ahead of myself. I will take a moment to talk about the premise then dive into my overall thoughts.
Billie May and Evan Skylark have a love that can weather the strongest of storms. Battling against life, addiction, travesties and unexpected life changes, they stick by each others’ side through thick and thin. But, everything might not be what it seems.
From the gate, Billie May is portrayed to be a woman with a plan. She has everything she wants to do in life all planned out and is ready to pursue that, when Evan happens into her life.
Instantly Evan is stricken by her and falls in love immediately. However, Evan has a dark side, one which Billie May will come to discover in time.
The main focus of this story is “How strong is love?”
While this story does have SOME potentially good qualities, only the bad ones stick out in my mind. I really hate when that happens. It bothers me when a book’s bad qualities outweigh the good ones. Following I will list my thoughts in no particular order.
I honestly don’t know. “Skylark” did nothing for me. I battled to get through it. Everytime I opened it to read, I would eventually fall asleep due to the immense boredom. Also, this book is advertised as a different kind of love story, but the only thing “different” about it was the vast amount of apathy I felt for the overall story/plot.
Survey Says: 4 TRB Stars.
This will translate into 2 stars elsewhere.
Now with her thoughts, we give the floor to the Unleashed One.
Have you ever seen something that leaves you stupefied—like you have to give yourself a few moments before uttering one syllable? That was my first reaction after Skylark.
I want to focus my attention on the last two lines of the blurb of this book:
Emotionally gripping and darkly humorous Skylark is an unconventional love story. A novel about what we do for love, of beauty in imperfection, betrayal and the weight of obsession.
I am going to speak on this from two minds. I think it would be a bit irresponsible on my end if I did not, for there are a lot of issues here—fiction aside, that are quite serious. One is from the mind of a reader but another is from the mind of someone who has a heightened awareness.
I am the type of person that who does not mind if there is detail when it comes to setting—as long as it doesn’t overshadow the pace or the conflict(s) that exist in the work. The author invested a lot of time in setting preparation—to the point where it reads more like a journal or a day-in-the-life than an actual novel. Each chapter followed this same blueprint—lots of setting detail with splashes of dialogue and the occasional conflict. For me, there was too much distance between these elements to keep me engaged … it caused unnecessary drag in Skylark. Instead of using the extensive language towards setting, it should have been used towards repairing cracks in character development—particularly the artistic brilliance of Evan, which is stated in the blurb but not enough examples are given. It makes me think that one could have taken out all the filler and still had the same story.
Although there were a few spelling errors in the copy given to me, that didn’t deter me as much as excessive use of punctuation in some bits and not enough punctuation to prevent the run-on rambles in other bits.
My favorite characters weren’t the main ones at all but were Cam and Jack. Both individuals carried with them the type of wisdom and kindness that made me smile. I also enjoyed the local color of Jed. I could picture him getting together the perfect meal and coffee for residents of St. Cloud every time and without fail. They gave a bit of relief to the humdrum rhythm of Skylark.
For all of the other factors that play into my ranking, I’m going to share with you my “other” mind.
In Skylark, a number of serious issues were brought up.
Yes, there is a betrayal angle but I am not going to mention it because it didn’t play a role in my overview.
It is very hard for me to see Skylark as a love story because of the way the two main characters were portrayed by the author.
Billie strikes me as very naïve and it made me wonder if she had any serious relationships before this one. Her whole demeanor never resonated as someone who held strictly to doing things by a certain time, in a certain way—although that is what the reader is supposed to believe in the beginning. If Billie were as strong in will and of planning as dictated in the blurb, how could (for lack of a better term) peer pressure steer her completely in the opposite direction? I felt sad because for all intended purposes, Billie is the type of woman that I should be able to connect with, on the surface, because we are both women. However, there are so many disturbing things about Evan that push the envelope between “standing by your man” and “being his puppet” that I had difficulty sympathizing with her.
The composition of Evan’s character are loosely reminiscent of Christian Grey in E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, not in economic stature but his penchant to be moody and act as a obsessive sexual bully. Yet, all of that is supposed to be ignored because he is sexy and charming in the eyes of others. I am suppose to feel the heat of romance flickering in the light of eroticism but in quite a few areas, Billie did not express full compliance yet Evan kept insisting until she gave in. Lack of compliance takes all of the “sex” and “eroticism” out and it could easily be deemed another word.
Yes, this is a work of fiction. Yes, these types of relationships do occur but the danger is when a relationship such as this is touted as unconventional beautiful love. It’s not love to always expect another person to sacrifice to feed another’s appetites, another’s dreams, to have your “self” lost in the process.
I would have liked for this to have been marketed more as a “cautionary tale” than a “love story”. No matter how poetic the flow of words, characteristics that embody “love” did not stand out. Especially “unconditional” because how love was defined was riding on Evan Skylark’s dictionary, which was full of errors and not suitable as any guide.
The subject of alcoholism was introduced, and more research should have been done not only on this topic but also on depression. Yes, the Irish do love to drink but one has to be very careful in the interpretation of alcoholism. There are individuals who think that just because one drinks liquor during a social event or has a glass of wine to go with a meal each evening that they are alcoholics, but that is not necessarily the case.
Evan’s drinking, at its most extreme, popped as an unhealthy response to trauma, not because he’s an alcoholic. Through the book, it never got outlined exactly how much Evan drank on a daily basis—it only gained spotlight after tragedy struck. Therefore, if a bonafide alcoholic was what the author was going for, she wasn’t completely successful—at least not for me.
People who are addicted to drinking don’t need any catalyst to get them to drink—they drink because they want to and it is up to them to stop. They get into a program to get clean and then they go through the steps and attend group to stay clean.
One thread of conflict which caused me to scratch my head was the idea that Evan’s alcohol use led to depression. It would have made more sense if this element was presented the other way around. Evan’s downfall was that he made unwise decisions, behaved impulsively, and the consequences put him in a depressed state. Alcohol was the response—to magnify his own feelings of worthlessness and failure.
The most compelling fiction is based on fact, especially if you are presenting modern day issues that impact the human psyche. No, not so much information that this would read as non-fiction but just enough to where the reader can buy the conflict.
Needless to say, because the method in which the conflict unfolded seemed impractical to me, it obstructed my ability to connect with the work. I should have felt sympathy for Billie at some point during Skylark but the emotion never came to pass.
Unleashed Verdict: 4.5 out of 10
Despite the beautiful cover and the setting descriptiveness, there were not enough of the other components to have this render a higher score. Because of the stunning blurb, I thought the content inside would match the claim but Skylark missed the mark terribly.
Thank you Mini Truth and No Labels Unleashed for your insight into “Skylark” by Ruthie Morgan. Let’s go ahead and tally up the final score.
It looks like “Skylark” has accursed a total of 4 TRB Stars.
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