Off the Shelf
By Marcus Pan
Oak 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
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
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