An Indie Read   3 comments


Writers who pay to have their books published often go through the wringer when it comes to perceptions. Such efforts were once identified as vanity-pressed or self-published. Now the preferred term is indie, or independent, publishing. Some indies are poorly constructed, rife with grammatical errors and simply uninteresting; yet many are well-written including Summoning the Strength by Stephanie Briggs. She  manages to avoid those most frequent missteps. In fact, she’s really only guilty of not calling on her own strengths, which are plentiful, when it comes to writing.

At 169 pages, Briggs’s novel is all-too brief to accommodate the numerous characters. The account follows Katherine, a small-town girl who endures a disastrous marriage to a wealthy man. She’s interesting and has an especially strong relationship with her mother, which unfortunately, just withers.

Katherine’s unhappiness is tangible because Briggs tells the story in retrospect. However, the explanation for the discontent is one-dimensional. The husband’s a jerk and Katherine’s an intelligent woman too blind to see the obvious.

One problem is the large number of long-lasting friendships Katherine has from her childhood and college days. It’s clear the author appreciates the importance of women’s friendships. However, here’s an instance when having more isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Briggs’s prose is engaging and descriptive, but she could have easily created fuller (and fewer) characters for a richer story. I’ve come to enjoy Briggs’s writing through her blog, Honie Briggs. It’s smart, humorous and meaningful. I suspect her next book will be, too.

Summoning the Strength
Three bookmarks
Briggs& Briggs, 2011
169 pages


3 responses to “An Indie Read

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  1. First of all, let me say that I am honored that you read Summoning The Strength. This story was my first attempt at writing and is most certainly a story with great personal significance for me. Your honest assessment of the difficulty in striking the right balance between character development and plot development duly noted. I knew from the moment the book was completed that the number of characters would be called into question. I even questioned it myself. I really didn’t know any other way to emphasize the importance of community than to show how many people influenced the main character and ultimately became the source from where she summoned the strength to persevere through betrayal and loss to see life in a whole new light.
    Secondly, I appreciate your vote of confidence for my future writing and am pleased that you enjoy my blog. Thank you very much for the kind words. It was an unexpected pleasure to discover that you reviewed my book.

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