Verdict: While it can move a bit slowly at times, WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is a deftly-written examination, filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe and the human experience.
Regina is a struggling artist trying to find fulfillment. When she begins to receive anonymous notes in the mail that threaten to kill her, her life is sent into a tailspin as she begins to contemplate her life and the very meaning of her existence. As the threat of danger looms, Regina’s strength and her relationships with those she cares about are tested.
In spite of the death threats Regina receives, this is not a fast-paced mystery, but rather a slowly winding journey through Regina’s mind. As the mysterious letters keep appearing, Regina becomes more and more anxious and reflective about her life and her choices. The novel often reads more like a study of Regina herself, with the plot being a secondary element that only serves to create conflict for the main character.
WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe. Author Patricia Ryan does a commendable job of diving into the minds of her characters. At times, however, the book seems like a vehicle for the author’s own musings about the world rather than a means of telling a story. Readers who are looking for a tightly woven plot might want to look elsewhere, but those who appreciate beautiful writing for its own sake will appreciate the novel. There are a few minor editing errors, but not enough to detract from the novel.
WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is not a typical mystery novel, focusing far more on human relationships and experiences than on unravelling the puzzle of who is sending Regina threatening messages. The characters are not overly developed, but this is an unexpected strength of the novel. Their interchangeable nature highlights the commonality of humanity, and is a reminder that everyone faces struggles in their lives. The book might disappoint readers who are looking for a fast-paced thriller, but those who appreciate philosophical reflection will be enamored with the story. Its eloquent prose and vivid descriptions outweigh its flaws, and its conclusion will have readers contemplating their own place in the world.
While it can move a bit slowly at times, WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is a deftly-written examination, filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe and the human experience.
~Christine-Marie Liwag Dixon for IndieReader