Category: Literary Fiction
Tag: Mainstream Fiction
Author: Florence Osmund
The troubled son of a callous father and socialite mother determines his own meaning of success after learning shocking family secrets that cause him to rethink who he is and where heʼs going. Lee Winekoopʾs reinvention of himself is surprising; the roadblocks he confronts are unnerving; and the cast of characters he befriends along the way is both heartwarming and amusing. His journey into manhood teaches him that lifeʾs bitter circumstances can actually give rise to meaningful consequences.
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Reviewed by Kevin Hallock
March 20, 2016
The beginning of Red Clover reminded me a lot of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I know many people enjoyed, so if you liked Chabon’s book, you might enjoy Red Clover. Unfortunately, I did not like Kavalier and Clay and this story ended up not working for me on many levels. I never connected with the main characters because their actions, and the consequences of those actions, often did not make sense. From the implausible ignorance of the main character to the bizarre behaviors of his family and friends, the story did not come together. There were many places I felt that small changes in character behavior would have strengthened the story by making the character more compelling, and therefore, the story more engaging.
I received this book free from Awesome Indies Books in return for an honest review.
Reviewed by Katt Pemble
June 22, 2016
For a book to focus so intently upon the personal struggle and growth of the main character, one could be forgiven for thinking it’d be boring. But Red Clover is anything but.
Florence’s writing lures the reader into its murky depths with a siren song of beautifully engaging prose, fully formed and believable characters, and a twisting plot. She wraps it up in a way akin to the tender loving care of a mother with a new born babe.
Red Clover encourages the reader to firstly lose themselves, and then find themselves again. A little wiser and perhaps a little more whole for having experienced Lee’s story.
Witness the complex social rules and run the family gamut of the high-class Winekoop’s and experience the feeling of isolation, lack of belonging and crippling social anxiety issues Lee faces from his early years right throughout his life.
Engaging too is the twisting plot. The way new truths are discovered, unearthed and thrust upon the characters, it leaves the reader guessing as to how things will work out. Some twists are more obvious than others, but their guess-ability lends itself to drawing the reader in rather than boot them out.
Lee is a likeable character, he grows with the reader, and the gaggle of supporting cast is just as likeable. Florence caters to all tastes. Be they kooky, rough, highbrow or anything in between. You’re sure to find a character to like.
This story encourages the reader to look at themselves and check to see if they’re whole, or merely existing to please others. It lends its strength to the reader too in a way I can’t do justice to in this review. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself. 5 stars.