Review: The January Wish by Juliet Madison

20140102-152247.jpg The January Wish is women’s fiction, family drama, and romance all rolled into one — and set in Australia. I loved the plot: Sylvia reunites with the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years ago. And I enjoyed the subplots: Sylvia breaks up with one guy and falls in love with another; Sylvia’s daughter experiences young love; small-town citizens support each other personally and in business.

I didn’t like the characters, though. I thought they were a little wishy washy, a little boring, a little unrealistic in their behavior. For example, we hear repeatedly (too many times, really) about Sylvia’s reserved and organized life – from her wardrobe to her car to her office – and then she lets loose dancing on the bar at a bachelorette party (hen night). That just doesn’t make sense to me. That kind if thing happens more than a few times. Later in the book, two conservative characters decide to play strip Scrabble. It just didn’t seem natural based on what the author told us about this couple… So why add it?

The unnatural dialogue hurt my ability to enjoy the book as well.

“Yes, she mentioned how she quite enjoys her acupuncture sessions now… But how anyone could enjoy having tiny needles stuck into their skin is beyond me!” Sylvia managed a friendly laugh.

Even if someone were to say those exact words, I imagine them said under the breath or out of the side of the mouth, not exclaimed and followed by laughter (and this is spoken by the reserved, boring gal).

The characters and dialogue just weren’t up to par and really hindered any enjoyment of the plot. The writing was so verbose and descriptive at times, I was distracted from the plot. (Um, recurring mentions of Mr. Benson — why? How did this relate to the story?) I started skipping paragraphs just to find something related to the plot or subplots.

All in all, I didn’t like the writing, characters or dialogue. Unfortunately, they took away too much from a beautifully thought-out plot.

— Calliope

Buy it now The January Wish