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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hammock by Heather Beck

The Hammock by Heather Beck
Publisher: Syren Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (28 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Fennel

Summer vacation gets a lot sweeter for Jade Addams when she meets the handsome and caring Russell. They quickly form a deep bond but it’s tested when a car accident causes a feud between their fathers. Jade and Russell’s secret is revealed when they fall asleep in a hammock and are awakened by her father. A physical fight occurs between Mr. Addams and Russell, furthering the rift between the neighbours. However, it’s Russell’s father who gives the gift of second chances when Mr. Addams has a heart attack. Some relationships truly are a Godsend…

This short story manages to pack the Romeo and Juliet theme into twenty-eight pages of charged emotions that includes jealousy, pig-headedness, ego, fear, and of course love.

Ms. Beck introduces several characters who might, in other less skilful circumstances, crowd each other out and create reader confusion. The writing style illuminates the teenage lovers as they struggle to maintain their blossoming love for each other in the face of dissention on every side. No surprise there. After all, it is clear early on, what Ms. Beck bases her story on.

The use of diary entries does for the most part keep the story flowing but, I found the early switch from present to past events a bit disconcerting to start with.

The charm, for the reader, is the way the author modernises the theme, creates new and tantalising controversies for her main characters to overcome and, for some, evokes memories of the powerful angst of a first love. Unlike her template story, this charming tale leaves the reader sighing with satisfaction that all ends well for Jade and Russell.