Reviewed by Claudia R.

Meet Garrison, Liza and their teenage daughter, Angel — from the outside, every bit the perfect, happy family with everything it needs or could ever want. Garrison is a highly successful graphic design artist one account away from untold wealth and fame. Liza is a loving, involved stay-at-home mother, eager to please both husband and daughter, her entire life evolving around them, and Angel is a high-spirited and talented ballerina involved in her very first romance.

Quintessential. Faultless.

Or is it?

When Liza goes against her husband’s wishes one stormy night, a split second decision, based solely on wounded pride, their entire world is turned upside down. The truth of who and what they are leaks out from their freshly cracked facade until everything they knew, everything they thought they were, isn’t. Hovering near death after a devastating car accident, Angel remains in a coma, her body broken and battered, her lungs aided by a breathing machine. Garrison and Liza are forced to re-examine their lives, their roles in it and their futures, while wallowing in guilt and blame,. Their own lives are dangling on a ethereal thread, threatening to snap and break, sending their love, marriage and destiny in to an abyss of pain, rejection and exhaustive loss.

Song of Renewal by Emily Sue Harvey, is a sweet little tale of lost dreams, family and the direct results and consequences of our actions and choices. While I found the synopsis fabulous, I found the writing lacking in grit and marrow.

At times it felt as if the author was writing with an open thesaurus at her side, filling spaces, changing words with those that lacked context or felt too histrionic for the sentence or moment. At other times, the descriptive felt juvenile and forced, as if the author could imagine the scene in her mind, but could not quite bring it to clarity with pen. The book all too often read like a cross between a bodice-ripper and soap opera, distancing the reader from the bones of the story.

I found myself frustrated, seeking cracked open soul, rather than exposed heart (which the book has plenty of). Conversations between Liza and her sister, Charlcy, felt insincere, even though it was obvious the author wanted readers to feel the two women were inseparable. The dialogue was adolescent, and Charlcy’s ‘twang’ interfered with the reader’s self-perception of the moment. The sexual tension between Garrison and Liza was overplayed and over dramatized, reminiscent of mainstream Harlequin romance novels or High School lust-angst under the bleachers.

Song of Renewal tries hard to offer it’s readers something deep, something uplifting and real, but unfortunately, in MY opinion, falls just short of achieving it’s goal. I know some people will enjoy it, regardless, as it’s an easy and quick read, tender and intimate.

Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children, entertaining her passion for reading in between providing services to help empower and improve the lives of low-income residents by sharing resources and self-advocacy skills to attain and support self-sufficiency.

This book was provided free of any obligation by The Story Plant Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.