Today I am the tour host for Bluff by Lenore Skomal! I have with you a review of this gorgeous book. Hope you enjoy it.
There’s also a giveaway at the bottom of the post, go enter it! :)
Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone’s deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.
A Daring Move
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was instantly curious and I knew that it was a book I simply had to get my hands on. Now, after reading the book, I can say in complete honesty that I was so glad to have acted on my curiosity as this book was simply spectacular. It never shied away from anything, making sure that it went down and got into the nitty gritty of things, helping to make the book seem so much more realistic. It is books like these that really inspire readers to look at their own lives, to think about things deeply and to re-think their own views and thoughts on certain issues, such as death. I was deeply moved by this book and therefore I would easily pass it along to others.
There are so many things that happen in our day-to-day lives that affect the people around us, that impact on the decisions we make and our friends and family make alongside us, and I feel that this book is a display of not only how different we all are as individuals, nor how selfish we can all be at times, but also about how our actions and decisions affect those around us. Essentially, there are many other things going on throughout this book that deal with issues of death, souls, religion, and morality but for me, it was the consequences of everything that really caught my attention the most. It is something that I have always thought about a lot, and this book was one that really shows it to others. With the multiple character POVs, it shows how everyone sees every different situation differently and how we do things for other people and for ourselves. Hard to put into words exactly, but it just shows much impact we all have on each others’ lives. Something which I find truly fascinating.
There were so many characters in this story and some I really connected with, while others I really couldn’t stand, and some I was cautious of. My favourite character, above them all, was our main protagonist, Jude. I felt that her space in the novel was perfectly situated and I absolutely loved everything about her character. She was troubled, had had a horribly dark past and her entire personality had changed because of it and it was only when things were spiralling out of her control did she really understand her life. I really connected with her, and could feel everything that she was going through. I also loved Mary Shannon and her son PJ, they were both really intense and interesting characters and while PJ wasn’t in the spotlight a lot and Mary Shannon was often seen as a contrite, uptight cow, I couldn’t help but like her. Or, until the end anyway.
Other characters that can’t go without mention are Frances and April. I liked Frances but she also grated on my nerves slightly as well. Not entirely sure why but probably because she never really felt open or honest to me, like there was this detachment about her when there shouldn’t have been. April was a character that should have been hated and yet while I didn’t love her, I certainly didn’t detest her either. She was a complicated soul and I really liked seeing her journey and the way that her personality has occurred because of her background and the circumstances surrounding her up-bringing. It was interesting to see. There is one more character that should get a mention here but I feel it would be difficult to talk about them without raising spoilers and so I will leave it all unsaid. But do know that every character that was in the story was well-written, felt very real, and just showed how brilliantly Lenore can transform words into people.
In More Ways
If there was one thing that I could pinpoint as to truly loving about this book, it would be the writing style. The way that Lenore not only jumped between the different POVs, but the way that she brought in the history and backstory of characters without taking away the tension and mystery was really well-executed. I loved the first person narrative and the way, despite that, you were able to connect with every character in the book. It was a truly inspiring way to write a novel that had me captivated from start to end. This novel did start with an air of mystery and suspense and while I expected it to siphon off during the middle of the book, I was glad that it stayed and was even still there right until the end, leaving the reader with many questions and thoughts about the book. It is definitely a style that I would happily read again and am looking forward to reading anything else that Lenore writes.
Then You May
At the back of the book is a short Q+A with the author and there was one question that I really loved and felt that it would be good to share with you as it would give you a good idea of why this book was so incredible and brilliant. These words are not my own and I take no claim to them;
There are many life lessons and heavy themes in Bluff, what is your hope for your readers when they put it down?
My burning desire is for them to re-examine their own beliefs about death and life. As an inescapable truth facing us all, death is an uncomfortable topic. If you have watched the most important people in your life die like I have, it seems we are gypping ourselves by not discussing it. End of life issues and whether or not the soul exits, are just the tip of the iceberg in this book. The much larger discussion is about life. Judgement and petty differences only prevent us from honoring each other and respecting choices. How we live our lives individually and collectively is a daily decision. And lying on our deathbeds may not be the best place to evaluate that.
Overall this was a book that I really connected with, one that made me think deeply when I finished it and one that I truly enjoyed while I was reading it. It was full of many different issues and really brought so many brilliant things to light. I connected with the amazing and totally different characters and I really feel that the ending was a really perfect way to finish the book. It answers many questions while leaving so many unanswered as well. It is a book that has managed to touch my heart and soul and one that I would recommend to others simply for that reason alone. But if that is not enough to persuade you to pick up this glorious book, a touch of humour as I was reading the “questions for thought” at the end, it is asked; “If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be and why?”. And we all know, you so want to answer it.
** I received this copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff?
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author: Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, 18 books published, a daily blog and weekly newspaper column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer’s Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message. Connect with Lenore on her website, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.
Get Bluff on Amazon.