3 April 2014

Review: Scarlett Says by Julie L Cannon

Who do you follow?

Joan Marie Meeker owns a well-known blog, Scarlett Says, on which she publishes posts of admiration for her favourite fictional character, Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind. Joan credits Scarlett with saving her life as a teenager and considers her the feminine ideal, but Joan has just made a horrible discovery that changes her view of Scarlett, and forces her to reconsider aspects of her own life.

She is supported by Siggy, the old janitor at the PR firm where she works. He follows Joan’s blog, but is concerned that she’s living entirely in a virtual world, with little interaction with real people. He supports, encourages and advises her from his source of life and wisdom: the Bible (mostly the book of Proverbs).
Scarlett Says is written in the first person, present tense, as Joan addresses the big issue in her past which pre-empted her withdrawal into her own space, and as she listens to Siggy’s biblical words of wisdom. I liked Joan and her voice was engaging and easy to read, so it never felt like I was missing anything by not having another point of view.

The use of first person was good for showing how insular Joan was, and possibly her lack of judgement in choosing Scarlett O’Hara as her role model—which is kind of sad. I’ve always admired Scarlett’s boldness and determination to achieve whatever she set her mind to, but she was also manipulative and self-centred, two less positive characteristics.

There were a handful of things which suspended disbelief, including (I’m sorry to say) the abrupt ending, but that didn’t alter the central theme of Scarlett Says, or the impact of Joan’s emotional and spiritual journey as she faces her past and looks to building a different future.

In terms of genre, Scarlett Says is part chick-lit, part women’s fiction and part romance. Overall, Scarlett Says was well worth reading, and I'm sorry to find Julie L Cannon died in 2012. I’d have been interested in knowing what happens next for Joan. Recommended for fans of Angela Hunt, Katherine Ready, of anyone wanting a little more depth in their Christian fiction.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Julie L Cannon at her website. Please note there is also an author named Julie Cannon, and you don’t want to get the two mixed up.

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