Tuesday, February 13, 2024

[Review] — "LOSING SPRING" is Jumbled Mess

It came to my attention that Chasing Endless Summer by V.C. Andrews (ghostwritten by Andrew Neiderman) was released today from Gallery Books; then, I realized I hadn't written my review for the previous book, Losing Spring. I've owned a copy of the latter since October of last year, and I took my sweet time reading it because—well, I knew it would be terrible from the start, and I was right.

Let's take a step back: the real V.C. Andrews passed away on December 19, 1986. The Andrews family hired horror novelist Andrew Neiderman to complete her unfinished projects and pen other Gothic-style novels under the pseudonym of V.C. Andrews. Neiderman, currently in his 80s, lost the little Gothic feel he lent to his earlier pieces. If you read this blog, you will know that I have been critical of his recent string of ghostwritten books, which have become worse—and worse—with every new release. His phrases and plots are rehashes, and his characters have zero individuality. The novels are now hardly illegible, yet even so, here I am, wishing for the best and getting at most mediocrity.

Here's a brief synopsis of Losing Spring (*Available to purchase on *Paperback), revised for your enjoyment: Caroline Bryer is the daughter of Morgan Bryer, a former military brat and highly conservative TSA agent. Linsey Bryer, her mother, is descended from the Sutherland real estate dynasty. Their structured, suburban existence in Colonie, New York, is strictly regulated, with little tolerance for deviance from the standard. (*Paid Link)

Upon attending the wake of their neighbor, Mr. Gleeson, Linsey, Morgan, and Caroline get to know his endearing daughter, Natalie "Nattie" Gleeson, who happens to be the US ambassador to France. As women of comparable ages in very different stages of life—Linsey is a dedicated housewife and mother, while Nattie is an international diplomat leading an autonomous and carefree life—Linsey and Nattie quickly become friends—and later more than friends.

Yes, their camaraderie quickly turns into a romantic relationship, which causes Linsey's marriage to fail and the loss of her inheritance from the Sutherland family's riches. Caroline's new reality is a whirlwind of unexpected death, family estrangement, and a forbidden inheritance as she struggles to navigate the loss of her mother, the Sutherland family's mind-boggling wealth (which quickly locks her away from the world), and the loss of contact with her father following the divorce.

Who is the intended audience for this book? The story features adult topics with a child as the primary character recounted in the first person, yet the narrative feels written in a middle-grade manner. Adults make up the majority of readers who still care about V.C. Andrews' ghostwritten works. Again, who is the target readership?

Losing Spring is a disorganized, badly written-novel with many concepts that don't work well together. Once again, Andrew Neiderman completely misses the Gothic atmosphere. It is impossible to distinguish who speaks in conversations because all characters are one-dimensional and have identical speech. There was an intriguing premise involving Caroline's mother having a lesbian romance with their neighbor, but the tale went nowhere. Subsequently, the unexpected death plot twist could have been a cliffhanger ending, forcing young Caroline to live with wealthy and dysfunctional relatives in the sequel. However, this subplot is the novel's hurriedly written last act, which will be continued in *Chasing Endless Summer. (*Paid Link)

Even the most ardent supporters of Andrew Neiderman cannot suggest Losing Spring to others. It's written so poorly that it took me forever to get past the first chapter. My interest in the tale and characters is nonexistent; the book is a clone of previous ghostwritten V.C. Andrews novels with no distinctive qualities. ╌★✰✰✰✰

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