Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 0-7434-3099-9
Historical Fiction, 2002
Richard Paul Evans, bless his heart, does a lot of good things with his charity groups and all. If his fans find inspiration in his lifeless, dull, and preachy sermons masquerading as “fiction”, good for them. If you prefer “he lays into her” instead of “he bangs her brains out”, check this one out. Or not. Yes, I don’t care. The Looking Glass is very readable, if you can overlook the choppy writing and annoying leap of (very short) chapters to (very short) chapters.
This story is about a man who has lost his faith. Or supposed to be, I think, because apart from the usual “my wife’s dead so I’ll never believe in Him again” thing, mid-1800’s hero Hunter Bell is having a whale of a time teaching Chinese immigrants the Way of Life, making every woman he meets falls in love with him (I know the author is a preacher/speaker, but really, he should rein in that Marty Sue avatar of his), and rescuing poor Irish woman Quaye, in between playing a martyr (wrongly accused of murder – ooh!).
This is a story where women always break down and sob on the hero’s manly shoulders, so grateful that Hunter even looks at them, much less pay attention to them. This is a story where the hero is so perfect, so manly, so righteous, so… so… BORING.
But at least it doesn’t get on my nerves. And from authors like Richard Paul Evans, this book is like the Pulitzer prizewinner of all those “read our books, women, and be grateful that men have penises” crappy authors’ swill out there. And because of that, hey, I guess it’s cool. Yes, I’m shallow – what, you actually expect me to reflect on a Richard Paul Evans book? Oh, please.