Blog Book Tour | “As the Light Fades” by Catherine West [mentioned during #FraterfestRAT 2019]

Posted Sunday, 20 October, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “As The Light Fades” direct from the author Catherine West in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what draws my eye towards reading Women’s Fiction:

I’ve been reading selections in Women’s Fiction and Contemporary Fiction for only the years I’ve been a book blogger – as prior to blogging my readerly life, I wasn’t finding these stories as readily as I am now. Part of my journey as a book blogger was enabling me to open doors of literature I might not have come across as readily IRL as I could cross paths with as a blogger – this is due to the blogs I would regularly visit, the feeds throughout bookish Twitter and the various blog tours I would host and/or follow to seek out new authors to read.

The paths we take as readers is an evolving state of awareness for what is being regularly released and written in today’s book world. What draws me into reading Women’s Fiction overall is the journey of the character herself – as it knits into the emotional, psychological and evolution of her path as a woman – across all facets of her life and unlike reading Romance, Women’s Fiction isn’t locked into a ‘happier ever after’ ending as sometimes, life is far too muddled to have resolution found at the end of the story.

When I first read the premise behind As The Light Fades – I must admit, it had quite a profound effect on me, as it stood out as being not just an emotional read but one which would be an interesting plot to sink my teeth into as it is addressing the curious ways in which your life evolves and how sometimes right in the middle of living your life – you can get blindsided by events which seek to alter your perspective about everything you once knew to be true.

My love for this genre sparked founding my own Women’s Fiction & Romance chat called @SatBookChat – which I host regularly on Saturdays in the twitterverse. I focus on a lot of different sub-niches of interest as well as stand-by favourites like dramatic crime novels, Historical Romances and Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

I have been focusing more on relationship-based Romances moreso than reading Women’s Fiction of late, as I admit, I was smitten by the romantic plots a bit more recently – especially if you’ve noticed my musings about Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired: Suspense and a curiously delightful Regency series #SpinsterChronicles! This particular blog tour allowed me to re-settle into Women’s Fiction and dig back into a genre of interest I love discussing online with fellow readers, bloggers, writers, and anyone who is bookishly engaged with stories about women!

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During #FraterfestRAT 2019 – my 2nd year participating in this five day readathon, I mentioned As the Light Fades – both on my TBR List for the readathon and a bit afterwards when the readthon concluded. I had intended to make more headway during the readathon itself but lost some hours in which to do so which is why I re-picked up the novel in the days after the readathon was already over – but wherein, #SpooktasticReads had just started to get underway! The two readathons are a brilliant bridge into each other and therefore, I was thankful I could continue to talk about this novel! My main goal was to be able to post this review whilst the blog tour was still actively making its route into the book blogosphere; blessedly, I was able to accomplish that goal.

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Blog Book Tour | “As the Light Fades” by Catherine West [mentioned during #FraterfestRAT 2019]As The Light Fades
by Catherine West
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Sometimes we’re placed in the strangest of circumstances for the most important reasons.

After her carefully constructed life crumbles, Liz Carlisle finds herself back on Nantucket, picking up the pieces. With the family estate under renovations, the solitude she craves seems out of reach.

Matthew Stone intends to steer clear of his new tenant. She’s carrying a load of baggage, but as long as she pays the rent, he’ll let her be. He’s got enough to deal with caring for his wayward niece, Mia.

Liz doesn’t have time for teenagers and her track record with men is abysmal, but an unlikely friendship forms between the three.

When her former boyfriend is charged with assault, Liz is called to testify against him. But he knows the darkest secrets of her life—secrets she’d hoped to keep buried forever, and he’s ready to reveal them. Telling the truth is the right thing to do, but it may cost her everything she’s worked so hard for, and all she’s come to love.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Women's Fiction

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1091453234

Also by this author: As The Light Fades

Published by Self Published

on 8th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 362

This novel is self-published.

As I was reading As The Light Fades – I saw references by other readers where reading The Things We Knew might have been beneficial to understanding a bit more of the back-story as there are cross-references to the family at the heart of this novel. When I began my readings of this novel originally I didn’t realise it could have read as a duology or a progressive series where certain characters and their circumstances are carried forward.

Converse via: #WomensFiction, #Contemporary Fiction

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Catherine West

Catherine West

Catherine West is an award-winning author of Contemporary Women’s Fiction. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband reside in Bermuda, and have two adult children and one beautiful granddaughter.

Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Where Hope Begins released May 2018, and her latest novel, As the Light Fades, released September 2019.

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my review for as the light fades:

As The Light Fades pulls you emotionally into the story within the Prologue due to how familiar the scene being set reminds me of my own past with aged relatives who were living in either assisted  living facilities or nursing homes. There is a familiarity of those environs which never truly leave you – a stamped imprint on your heart and of your nose; as like the author mentions, they have their own swirled mosaic of scents; some of them are pleasant, most are sterile and the other kinds, you try to dismiss before you recognise them. It was an interesting place to begin the novel – almost as if a final note of memory before the light fully fades – which could be a whispered clue towards the title and the story about to unfold.

There is a sudden shift into the life of Liz – a lawyer whose walking her dogs and suddenly finds herself witnessing a near-accident involving a cat, a Jeep and a teenager. The interesting bit there is how realistic it was written as you could definitely believe how easily it would have happened IRL. Especially considering even the teen herself was acting rather stand-offish, not wanting to own the circumstances of the near-miss and then, of course, there was the question of the ownership of the car itself. I think the greater loss were the roses – though, if I had been the teen in the car, I would have been much more rattled by two things: being asked so many questions by a stranger and nearly hitting a cat!

For Mia’s sake (as we learnt her name) I was thankful Evy had a bit more of a calming attitude than Liz who seemed to want to lock her in a cell moreso than she wanted to learn her story. It was Evy, the owner of the roses who saw something in Mia – something which struck a chord that she needed to mother her a bit, encourage her to talk and to take her under her wing. I laughed a bit seeing how that distressed Liz but sometimes, there is more to what happens in life than what is seen on the surface of those events. Apparently Evy had foresight into that kind of awareness and I believe that is what prompted her to wrap Mia round some good old-fashioned hospitality and conversation.

Liz is at a cross-roads in her life – although, it is only hinted at a bit round the edges, something has taken her away from her former routine in New York. She was a lawyer who enjoyed the high life of the city not the slower paced existence she was learning to embrace now with her brother’s family on Nantucket. I, for one, wouldn’t have minded the exchange – as Nantucket has its own appeal with the beaches, the community of the setting and just having a down-turn switch-up from bright lights and harried souls. Who wouldn’t want that kind of a change in their life? But, of course, if Liz was the kind of lawyer we love to watch in legal dramas on television, she was an ace at her job and an asset in her field. Not that I know the kind of law she practiced but you can tell she took it seriously, owned the lifestyle it provided her and this new life she was trying to cobble together wasn’t quite as soothing nor as enticing as the one she left behind. Yet, something is holding her here and I felt it was something keenly important.

As she talked with her brother, you were given snippets of her past – of where things started to unravel with her relationship and why being here, right now, was more important than any choice of career. Her brother was realistic about the topic they were discussing – he wasn’t trying to push her to make any concrete plans nor to influence her thoughts but you could tell he was concerned. After what he was discussing with her – anyone would feel empathetic to his concerns and cheer for the fact he was rallying behind his sister when she needed him the most.

By the time she starts to shift into renting a flat locally from a friend of her brother’s – we start to see the co-merging of her story-line into Matt’s and Mia’s. They are living through their own ordeal with Mia’s parents unable to raise her at the moment and where I felt Evy was going to make another appearance in the young girl’s life as it felt like Evy was the grandmotherly type who would want to take Mia under her wings; if only to influence her in a positive way and help knock off the chips from her shoulder. Mia was definitely the type to hold a grudge and she wasn’t the kind to be thankful to be living with family or anywhere outside the life she was used to living.

I had to give credit to Ms West for articulating what it is like to deal with your loved ones who are struggling with memory loss and/or are already in the throes of a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s or standard dementia. She was writing Liz’s father’s perspective from the inside looking out at the world – how he was internalising his changes in his localised environment and how he personally was able to think through those changes before she re-flipped the perspective back to Liz and re-aligned our sight through her own observations on his behaviour patterns. Of course, if you have experience with these conditions you know that you can go from being articulate and partially fluid such as Drake was in the beginning of the scene to where he can lose footing and time shortly thereafter which West showed rather well. It is a hard passage to read if you have past experiences with these diseases as it robs so much out of your loved one’s lives.

Part of me felt this might have been meant to be an INSPY Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel but it was writ more secular in many respects and the light touches it was given into the INSPY side of the ledger were a bit too light to notice. You almost could blink and miss the overtures completely because the focus isn’t about their religious walk nor in how they are maintaining their faith as they’re living through adversities – it is more focused on what those adversities are, how their circumstances are in constant change and how they can work through those sudden changes to re-set their lives back on positive ground.

One of the more humbling chapters was the eighth – where you get the chance to peer closer to the life Mia has lived and why she is attempting to place her trust in her Uncle Matt. West doesn’t come out to explain those events she’s traumatised about but there is enough being hinted towards the reasons for you to discern what is troubling Mia. It also goes to show why Matt is overly concerned about her and how he is trying to temper his interests in getting her to talk – as its not about his timing but her own.

In many ways, I wish Matt had done a bit more for Mia – there were certain reactions and scenes where I felt he fell a bit short of being the kind of guardian she needed most. I knew from what was shared about his own parents, he had a difficult time finding his own feet as a parent himself. Communication in this family was not the easiest and yet, that is what Mia needed most – someone to communicate with and someone to see what was going on in her life – to take an interest and not just demand the structure that was missing due to the circumstances she had endured. I even found it odd when Matt could have stepped up and been supportive of Mia in a very private moment of a girl’s life; he turnt round and decided to talk about why she couldn’t miss her dinner.

These small moments of misses started to add up for me – I was losing traction and footing within the story quite quickly as these characters were hard to warm up towards. They each had their faults, that’s for sure but what they lacked was the empathy towards each other’s issues and what they truly missed was the supportive circle they all required. I wish they could have had a more honest discussion – even if they lost their tempers but just talked it out – put things into the front of the room and not held back so many secrets. The earlier overtures of where this felt like a Thriller were lessening the more you read the novel because the fixed mark you felt was on Liz (in regards to her ex) was all but forgotten. I was a bit surprised by that as in the beginning she was so fixated on her ex – she could barely function and make choices which affected her new life.

I finally decided to let them live their lives without me – I was hoping there was going to be a positive change back round to how the light would resume in their lives but after awhile, the whole story took on a rather depressive tone. This story was hard to read because of how it didn’t seem to know what kind of story it wanted to tell – was it revealling a coming to terms with the past wherein one family finds redemption due to a forced reunion? Or, is is a dramatic Women’s Fiction which reads more like ambiguous endings found in Literary Fiction where you have to re-question what you read because there is more than one outcome to be found? I definitely struggled to find the heart of the story and anchour myself to where it was moored. I think this would be a better fit for readers who can handle the family dramatics and appreciate it for the slow moving climax wherein each of the characters slowly find their own way (or least I presume?) towards the end.

Small fly in the ointment:

There are some awkward internal dialogues for the characters – especially for Matt and since I have the tendency of reading and/or watching stories involving angst-ridden teenagers, some aspects of Mia’s character felt a bit uneven. She had the grit part down pat but her essence was missing in some ways because she isn’t given enough time in-scene to feel more fully rounded out. I also noticed some pacing issues as you’re reading the novel – the slow moving aspects were not always conducive to the flow of the narrative but at other times, especially when we were focusing on Liz it felt honest about her current situation. I wish in some respects Matt hadn’t come across as he did – he was a bit of a lost puppy parenting Mia and it showed.

Some of the dialogue exchanges between Matt and Liz felt more like conversations college-aged kids would have rather than two people in their early thirties as well. I wasn’t sure what would cause that – most of Mia’s scenes showed her acting like a defiant teenager and trying to work off the edgy vibe she was meant to give off but somewhere between the build-up and the interactions with Matt and Liz, I felt something was missing.

There was a transition into Mia’s letters – although they came quite out of the blue, I was not expecting this novel to shift into a journalled or correspondence state of inclusion. I almost felt those should have started sooner than the twelfth chapter as they felt quite a bit out of place. Especially considering right after your read the letter itself, we’re brought back in-scene with what is transpiring with Matt and his parents.

on the contemporary women’s fiction styling of catherine west:

When I first started reading As The Light Fades – I felt pulled into this story – Liz is holding back so much in the opening chapters – she is questioning her own actions and the course she needs to take to resolve her current problems. There the kind of problems that make you shudder as there are no hard and fast answers to circumvent them but she has this grit about her where she wants to move forward. I felt the worst for her brother – how to help a sister in need but how to juggle your children, wife and family, too?

I have a feeling this is going to be a roller-coaster of emotional angst but I am eager to see how Liz starts to put the foundation back together on her life. She has a chance to change how she’s living and she has a small niche of a community in which she can find strength and healing. Seeing how all these characters move in and out of each others lives will be interesting – as I am quite sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Mia nor Evy. I shall eagerly await to see what the next chapters shall tell me and how entangled all of their lives will really become as the story continues to unfold.

For me personally, this was filling the niche of Contemporary Women’s Fiction with a healthy dose of Contemporary Thriller as there is domestic concerns writ into the most integral bits of the story-line. At least by the appearances of how As The Light Fades began its opening bridge into the story – you simply do not know how things will turn out in those regards and by having them on the fringes of the foreground for most of the time you’re reading the novel carries with it a sense of nefarious shadows which are well suited to Thrillers. It might have been considered Suspense as well but for me the main difference between Suspense and Thrillers are the intentions behind the secreted information and the crust of the climax and plotting. Thrillers take things to a heightened level of intensity for me whilst they also deal more with domestic crimes against women. Suspense for me is an extension of Mysteries – except much more intensive and shadowy to where you cannot always decipher whose the hero and heroine of the story much less who the real person of interest is as you’re reading the context of the layering.

I am uncertain why it lost this traction at the mid-point and switched gears on the reader. I felt it was working quite well under this vein of traction and it was what first drew my interest to feel a motivation to stick with these characters because their journey through this kind of strife was a compelling read.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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As the Light Fades blog tour via Prism Book Tours

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “As The Light Fades”, book synopsis, author biography, author photograph of Catherine West, the tour host badge and Prism Book Tours badges and/or banners were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 20 October, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Women's Fiction

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