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The Velvet Thorn: A Novel

1 rating: 2.0
A book by Olivia Villa-Real

Asian singer-composer Bella Mariposa can't ignore the difficulties in her marriage to physician Daniel Miranda. In hopes of salvaging her union and regaining some sense of balance not only for her, but also for her children, she flees to a spiritual … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Olivia Villa-Real
Publisher: iUniverse.com
1 review about The Velvet Thorn: A Novel

Complex emotions and the hand of fate

  • Jul 26, 2011

A beautiful description of a young man’s ordination in the Catholic Regina Coeli Cathedral of San Francisco opens Olivia Villa-Real’s novel The Velvet Thorn. Having attended my own brother’s ordination many years ago, the sights and sounds brought back happy and beloved memories. But life is not all joy for this young priest, and the next chapter throws the reader into a much less lyrical world. Derek is rapidly forced to take charge of two small children after dramatic events herald his arrival at his new church. Meanwhile an unhappy woman at the same church cares for children of her own, and fate, prefigured in longing glances, draws them together.
The author depicts the vacillating needs of love, duty and commitment through the eyes of many protagonists—a priest, committed to his calling, drawn to love a woman but unsure where his God wants him; a woman, committed to her marriage, drawn to another yet certain just one more attempt might make her family work; a husband, sometimes faithless, sometimes driven to despair by his spouse’s demands. Internal dialog and deep insights into different character’s intentions and thoughts slow the reading at times, but there’s a solid reality to events, despite their occasional implausability, giving a feel of memoir rather than fiction. Perhaps this speaks to how convincingly the characters are portrayed. Love does indeed make a thorn of the beloved, able to wound as no other can, but, as the author shows, true love covers the thorn with velvet.
The novel winds through a tangle of emotions with complex imagery from clawed airplane to sharp-thorned rose and unadulterated landscape. The author’s poems, taken from her songs, provide a lyrical sound-track. And the whole is an interesting exploration of the joy and pain of love. While many threads are very neatly tied by the end of 279 pages, others remain loosely tangled adding to the feel of memoir and of life just beginning to begin—a hopeful end that eases the sting of love’s thorn.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by Bohlsen PR in exchange for an honest review.

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