Book Review: A Reason to Live

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

It’s not often I review a book that I did not finish but I made an exception in this case.

Before the story starts there is a nice blurb of history to give the reader a basis idea of the time before this story taken, what events have happened up to that point and a little bit of insight into who Aaron Nash was. One the short history lesson was done the true story started, albeit a bit slow, but since it was talking mostly about Aaron Nash’s business ways and how he became so rich, that slowness was a bit expected.

There were quick a few repetitive sentences, sometimes almost word for word, often within the same paragraph and that was really distracting to the story at hand. After all, how many times can on person have a sinking feeling something bad has happened in same page, let alone the same paragraph. There were also a number of sentences that were clearly missing words in them, making no sense what so ever. A good example of one of these is

Leaving the two hired hands to take care of the homestead and the fire at the corner of Nash harnessed a fresh horse to the buggy and headed for town.

Now obviously something is incorrect in that sentence, whether it’s some missing words or improper editing. These instances also took away from the story as I had to go back and read the sentence a second time to get back into the story and figure out what was being said at times. Most disturbing off all mistakes like this were present throughout the entire book.

I can’t say that I felt overly drawn to any of the characters in this book. There was a mix of various characters, with different backgrounds and occupations. Now it did do a good job of showing how hard things could be for homesteaders and both new and older established ranchers when other men, particularly other ranchers, were determined to run those people off their lands and take it for themselves. It showed how one man, with enough resources and money, could destroy another man over the course of several month or even a year or two.

I had to stop reading around the three quarter mark in this book. I just couldn’t handle having to reread parts constantly to get past all of the lack of editing. This story had potential to be good but it was thrown away when the copy provided reflected more of a rough first draft than the finished product.

For me the biggest thing that stood out in this book was not the story but the overall lack of editing. For a book that was published back in 2006 I was expecting there to be better editing. From what I saw in this book I wonder if this book even made it to an editor, since every page was plagued with spelling mistakes, repeating sentences and random missing words/extra letters. Because this was such a huge presence throughout the entire length of the book I found it very hard to enjoy the actual story, which if one ignored the lack of editing, was actually quite good and had a very solid western feel to it. I would have liked to have rated this book higher but with the major editing flaws I just couldn’t do it. If there is a proper edited version out there then I think this will be a good book, especially those who enjoy Westerns and books set around the time of the American Civil War.

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