By Fia Essen
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Inspirational
Ariel Morton’s life was perfect … until it wasn’t. Now she’s stuck in a rut. At the age of thirty-four, she has a dead-end job, a rented hovel of a home, and a rising stack of unpaid bills to keep her company.
Just when Ariel is starting to fear she will never get her life back on track, she’s contacted by the mysterious Muse Agency. Suddenly, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself and those around her.
Who is Ariel? And what does she want? The truth is she can’t answer those questions. And finding the answers is the only way out of her rut.
BUY THIS BOOK:
I thought Ariel was a thought provoking look at human weakness and the corners we all tend to back ourselves into. Fia Essen was able to write a book that illuminates the difficulties of self-analysis and introspection, the importance of being brutally honest with ourselves, and the necessity of being honest with others.
I think anyone at one time or another has found themselves in a serious rut, whether out of necessity, as a result of a box we put ourselves in, or simply because we have become complacent in our routine. This makes the entire story line so easy to relate to and facilitates an easy bond with Ariel Morton, the stories heroine. She’s a bit of an underdog with all of the things that life has thrown at her, but she is eventually able to recognize that her reclusive habits, her strained relationship with her family, and her dead end job can be attributed to her actions and perceptions, though unfair events were the catalyst for her downward spiral. The point is, no one was keeping Ariel in that rut except Ariel. I think it a very valuable life lesson.
I thought Ariel’s journey was beautifully plotted and her development from someone who was essentially playing the victim to a person who could accept her own mistakes and come clean with the people she loved was nicely paced and truly remarkable. The inner conflict of the heroine and the outer conflicts of her circumstances furthered the plot and moved the story along quite nicely, especially because of how these conflicts played off of one another.
Ariel is a colorful, quirky character with funny inner dialogue. She certainly has a voice that stands out among the various heroines I have read thus far. The secondary characters, from her family to her coworkers, also morph from a certain archetype to another as Ariel’s perceptions of them changed over time, and soon we realize that these characters are fun, eccentric and ready to rally around Ariel because of the love they have for her.
I thought this was a brilliant point to illustrate when it comes to our perception of people. Sometimes our own negative circumstances will adversely affect the way we perceive others, and once we can open our eyes to the positives we can see more clearly the wonderful qualities those people possess. Your behavior changes and their behavior changes as well. Really, wonderfully done there.
I think there were just two things I could have done without. The segment about the many jobs that Ariel has gone through before working at her last job seemed like one big info dump. It bogged down the story just a tad, and some background would have been nice, but not all of it in one fell swoop. The author could cut down on the history and give a small bit of info about how Ariel got her job with the magazine, and then pepper the other information throughout the book in a funny way. Maybe Ariel could exhibit a strange skill set, someone could ask about it, and in that offhand way Ariel has, she could mention in conversation that she learned how to do this when she was a nanny for so and so. It could be a running gag throughout the book with each new skill set and new job revealed, and it could also create fun dialogue for the reader to enjoy. Just an idea there.
The other area was when she gave her first to-do list. Listing those steps was fine, but in the next chapter Ariel’s inner dialogue went through the steps explaining the necessity of each one in great detail, and it felt a little redundant. I thought the to-do list was self-explanatory. I understood the reasons for every item listed and she had already gone through why she needed to get revenge on Duncan when she was sitting in Adam’s car. At this point, I just wanted to get to the action of the story and see more of Colin, whose name isn’t Colin, but the reasons behind the to-do list were stopping that from happening. While it was actually pretty funny, I think it just interrupted the otherwise flawless pacing and left me feeling a little impatient. It wasn’t new information so I think that part could be left out.
Other than those two items, I truly enjoyed the book, its message and the characters involved. I especially loved Ariel and would love to read more about her and Colin in the near future. I highly recommend this book to those interested in reading some inspirational, thought provoking romance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Fia Essen has been an expat since childhood. She grew up in the stables of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, surrounded by horses, philandering polo players, and bored expat housewives. Currently, she lives in Athens, Greece with her Yorkshire Terrier.
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