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By Jacqueline Goldman

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AWAKENING is a descriptive take on dysfunctional relationships, letting go, moving on, and new beginnings.


Tess Shapiro, a divorced teacher in New York City, spends most of her days and nights lamenting her failed relationship with Patrick, a true sociopath who has wreaked havoc with her self-esteem and her belief there’s someone out there for her. Tess is still dealing with the aftermath of Patrick’s string of affairs, including time spent with hookers and his blatant expression of never having loved her in the first place, but still manages to get out of her rocky marriage with two lovely children.

A skilled graphic novelist, Tess lives out her fantasies through her work. Author Jacqueline Goldman actually includes graphic novel sketches in several places throughout the book, in attempt to showcase Tess’s talent and give readers a peek into Tess’s alter ego, Andrea Chambers, who wants nothing more than to be daring and different and fight the bad guys.  At random points in the story, Tess is upset by news flashes of NAFKA, a group of German terrorists bombing targets in France. But, this never really takes precedence in the storyline which focuses mostly on her day-to-day living.

Tess meets up with her student’s widowed father, Guy, only to learn he plans to return home to his native country of France in one year. But a good friend encourages Tess to live her life and take chances, regardless of the red flag of her seeing Guy kissing another student’s mother. Despite this, Tess succumbs to her needs and her desire for passion in her life and winds up in a new relationship.

Author Jacqueline Goldman shines when detailing Tess’s surroundings and reaches deep into her highs and lows in her relationship with the two men. Goldman has a talent for writing about the budding romance between Tess and Guy, though the book falls short of fitting into the romance genre. And though there are some hints of a potential thriller, AWAKENING never really fits into that genre either. The author is skilled at writing descriptive passages, but her plotting could use some work and a climax would have added more interest to the story, as would deciding into which genre the story belongs.  There are also some mundane chapters that drag the story down, but readers who enjoy lots of detail about everyday life, AWAKENING is a good read, but those expecting a mystery/suspense/thriller will be disappointed.

AWAKENING is a descriptive take on dysfunctional relationships, letting go, moving on, and new beginnings.

~Kelly McDonough for IndieReader

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