Off the Shelf

“DeLore's Confession”

By Marcus Pan

DeLore's ConfessionOak Tree Press were kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of Paulette Crain's new book, "DeLore's Confession." This is Paulette's fiction debut and is obviously influenced by her time spent in New Orleans, San Francisco and heavily tempered with her extensive knowledge of antique restorations. Billed as a Gothic Mystery, it is a story of genealogical intrigue that stretches over a period of 9000 years. Of course, the 9000 years aren't fully covered - just the latter portion which takes place in the current time, but the epilogue at the end takes you back further to explain what it is the powers that be of the story possess and why. There is also word that she is working on a prequel which, I would guess, will cover the intrigue of the DeLore and Winthrop families over the last couple centuries.

The story opens with the life of one Ashley Winthrop, a well-to-do home restorer well versed in Victorian arts, homes and antiques. Paulette shows her prowess with her excellent discussion of homes and the antiques within them, providing a great ambience in which take place the scenes of the novel. Ashley has always been enamored about Belvedere, a beautiful mansion in her home town in California. When a mysterious man, one Tryn DeLore, turns up to claim ownership of this mansion, her job as restorer of such leads her down a twisted path of self-discovery, family history and the secret of The Gift. Given to the men of the Wintrhop and DeLore families at their twenty-sixth year, The Gift gives them eternal youth and beauty. It also gives them sexual prowess and seductive powers. Vampires? Maybe…but not in the traditional sense. There's no neck biting, no blood sucking and no silly flying around rooms. Paulette has shied clear of the Stoker vampire style.

Ashley and her friends spend time bouncing between the Sausalito area of California and the French Quarter of New Orleans. Ms. Crain is from New Orleans and has captured the beauty of this old city well. They further discover more about her family's past and the significance of the Wintrhop's lineage - as well as the significance of the mysterious gentleman who bears the name Delore. The history of both families stretches back for almost ten millennia.

There is, however, too much of a soap opera style applied to the story. Everyone is well off and therefore can bounce around the country on a moment's notice. By the end of the book it's discovered that nearly everyone involved is of the same blood lineage and related at least in some way. There's disappearances, suppressed childhood traumas that requires the attention of a hypnotist, memory loss, incest and more…too much like reading Dallas or General Hospital - only a bit darker in ambience and mood. This lent the story a good deal of predictability that stifled the smaller climaxes as the book moved along. The vocabulary style is slightly juvenile, although this lends the story to quick reading and a good flow through the novel.

Another thing that bothered me can most likely be attributed to the editor. There were quite a few misspellings and problems with punctuation. This can be me just nitpicking, sure, but simple things like quotes were misappropriated, missing or otherwise used incorrectly which made some important dialogues of the novel hard to follow. I knew I had to bring the typographical thing up - all books have some, sure, but DeLore's had a lot more than most - when near the end of the book came the line, "He rained with an iron fist." Hope he doesn't rust with one, too…

The winding together of the DeLore and Winthrop lineage in the epilogue of the novel with Greco-Roman mythology characters; i.e. Zeus, Poseidon and Aphrodite; was greatly unexpected. It caught me completely off guard. Combining this mythology with that of Atlantis as well bordered on silly, but I'll let you be the judge of this and won't divulge any information about it. To me, it felt like Paulette was reaching for an explanation.

Fans of soap operas would enjoy this book. Younger readers, the Dawson's Creek or Melrose Place fans for example, would appreciate it more than older ones I think due to her vocabulary use and its extreme ease of reading. Myself, I found that due to this soap feel I was able to make good judgements on what was coming next before it occurred - and this made DeLore's Confession much less exciting than it should have been.

"DeLore's Confession" by Paulette Crain
Published by Oak Tree Publishing Inc.
Copyright © 1998 by Paulette Gaston Crain
ISBN 1-892343-00-2

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