Nzube Chizoba Okeke
“Prepare for tragedies and victories, losses and wins, births and deaths, and a love story spanning years. Deceptive Calm by Patricia Skipper opens with the violent racism common in some parts of America in the 1960s. It follows the story of Vanessa Cordon and the lives intertwined with hers.
Suffering heartbreak, the loss of her mother, and her own near-death experience, Vanessa changes her name and identity and moves to somewhere new. She becomes successful both in her career and personal life. However, it becomes the deceptive calm before the storm as her nightmare unfolds before her. Many loose ends remain; all it might take is one curious detective to discover the truth.
This book was very well written. Nothing about it was predictable, as it did not follow the typical pattern of romance books. I found it easy to follow the plot and the characters' lives, especially Vanessa's. My favorite thing about the book is the author's portrayal of each character. Without seeming too contrived, each character would elicit a particular emotional response, whether positive or negative, from the reader. These could have been real people who lived real lives, and it felt like the book took its direction from the characters and not the other way around. They were realistic, and I could easily understand them, even in their mistakes and failures.
The author's descriptive ability is commendable. I could picture the scenes; it was like I was present during each scene. The tension ramped up towards the end of the book with some adrenaline-pumping moments and during scenes where it was uncertain how things would go. It made the book very entertaining to read.
This book also contains many details of American history, making it more enjoyable for Americans. However, anybody familiar with the part of American history covered in this book can still read and enjoy it.
There were a couple of time jumps in the book. There would be a lot of time spent describing one particular event or action, and then we would fast forward a couple of months or years to another scene, which would then be described in detail. I found the spacing quite erratic, but it was not enough to reduce my enjoyment of the book.
People who had been on the receiving end of racism would relate well to this book. On the other hand, it might be triggering for some. There was also a description of sexual violence. Readers triggered by that might also want to read with caution.
There were some errors, but not enough to be distracting. However, because of the number, I would remove a point and recommend another round of professional editing. Therefore, I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Other than the spacing issue, I found nothing to dislike about this book. I'd recommend it to lovers of historical fiction, especially American history, and romance.”