Reviews are a tough part of the writing game. They’re tough because criticisms come after a book is done, and there is nothing a writer can do to change or fix anything. The book has to stand as it is, and the author has to take whatever is thrown at it.
Thankfully, I’ve received many kind and flattering reviews through the years, but the ones where a reviewer calls a story trite or cliche or unbelievable or whatever hurt. The comment may be true, but it hurts anyway.
Publisher’s Weekly has given me a mixed bag of reviews, so it was with trepidation that I waited to see if they would review The Victory Club, and if they did, if they would like it. I was especially nervous because I struggled a lot while writing this particular book. Well, to my surprise, they liked it.
Veteran Christian fiction author Hatcher weaves
epistolary elements with third-person omniscient narration in this
moving novel about a year in the life of four Idaho women working at a
Boise air field during WWII. Lucy, Margo, Penelope and Dotty all have
loved ones serving in the military, and each reacts differently to the
hardships of war. Three of them are Christians, and rather than making
them cardboard saints, Hatcher depicts each one struggling with and
giving in to sin. As each woman deals with the consequences of her sin,
the novel’s dominant theme becomes grace. For example, when Dotty
realizes that a premarital liaison with her soldier boyfriend has led
to pregnancy, she experiences God’s forgiveness and finds the courage
to face her difficult situation. Hatcher includes V-mail and news
clippings to good effect, making this novel’s wartime setting
believable without resorting to cliche. She is not afraid to leave some
of her characters unredeemed, and in contrast to much of the
sentimental Christian fiction geared toward women, this novel embraces
complexity rather than eschewing it. A well-paced and genuinely
suspenseful plot plus Hatcher’s pleasingly smooth prose make this novel
a delight. (Publishers Weekly, 5/16/2005)
That sound you heard was an enormous sigh of relief. Now if readers will just feel the same about it…