Hold the Light by April McGowan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. WhiteFire Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Hold the LightHold the Light by April McGowan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Art is Amber’s passion and lifework, expressed through her paintings and her job teaching art to children. Hence, it’s infinitely more than an inconvenience when she learns that her vision problems are due to the fact that she’s going blind. The unresolved pain of Amber’s past comes to the fore as she wrestles with her faith and the gradual loss of her eyesight in Hold the Light, a novel by author April McGowan.

The book cover excellently captures the brilliant essence of this story: a lone woman, possibly depressed, slowly approaching the edge or end of something, headed toward obscurity—obscurity that’s full of light. I saw this novel classified as a romance; while it does include a love story, I’d classify the novel as contemporary or women’s fiction, since the romantic relationship isn’t the biggest or central focus of the plot.

It’s no sugar-coated walk in the park that Amber is taking. Admittedly, I found her difficult to like when she’d let loose a sarcastic and spiteful tongue toward the people who care about her. Her anger is understandable, though, and she does feel remorse. It wasn’t always easy for me to follow the story’s train of emotion, there were places where the style and development felt rushed and simplistic, and the novel’s villain wasn’t the most convincing to me.

But in other places, the main characters’ experiences rent my heart. It’s not the first book I’ve read about a sighted person losing her vision, but it still gave me some new thoughts to consider. And besides a plot twist I didn’t anticipate, the story came most alive for me at Amber’s easel: the colors, the flow of feelings and creativity and purpose, the appreciation of nature, the communication with God. The light. Brilliant.

And the novel does leave room for one character or another’s story to continue, perhaps in a sequel…


2 thoughts on “Hold the Light by April McGowan

  1. Kendy Pearson says:

    McGowan’s new release, Hold the Light, draws the reader into an unexpected experience. Pages turned faster as I discovered, through the author’s excellent research, the main character’s challenges and grief in her journey into blindness, amid a career she loves. Amber is a fiercely independent woman and her artwork has just gained notoriety as the darkness descends. Her heartbreaks became my own as she struggled with life’s wretched offerings and complicated relationships. Predictability has no place in this story line, and delightfully so. McGowan’s signature edgy voice and humor ring throughout as she carries you through surprise turns, to a satisfying ending of love, acceptance, and most importantly, God’s perfect grace.

    Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

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