Monday, October 24, 2011

The Manicurist by Phyllis Schieber

The Manicurist is a Literary Fiction novel.

On the night that Tessa's parents died in a horrific car crash, her life became a puzzle of thoughts and emotions.  There are many unanswered questions surrounding her parents death, like whatever happened to the body of her mother, Ursula.

As Tessa ages, her life is filled with longing, indecision and soul-searching.  She chants mantras to push herself foward, a trait taught to her by her mother as well, she reads palms.  Her job as a manicurist gives her plenty of time to interpret the lives of those she meets on a daily basis.

On the day that Fran enters her shop, demanding a manicure while plying her with kindness and homemade soup, Tessa's life is about to irrevocably change forever.  Who is Fran and what answers does she have and will they be the answers that Fran seeks?

I would give this book a three out of five stars.  It had potential but felt it had serious editorial issues, there were mention of things that didn't correlate with anything I read, I know, I searched for the piece in the book that had confused me.  The setting described was mentioned in such a way that we, the reader, already knew of it's happenstance, however, we are left in the dark.  As well, the numerous typos were too frequent not to bring mention, it is very distracting to some readers.  I also found the print to be abnormally small and it hindered my read somewhat (it has been brought to my attention that the font is small due to it being an ARC copy, if that is true, then my apologies.)

I thought Tessa was a believable character, with her own mental illness issues, such as her distant relationship with her daughter, Regina, her infidelities and her lack of concern in her relationship with her husband.  I enjoyed the intrigue surrounding her mother but didn't find the depiction of her mental illness to be understandable, perhaps a bit more research into the actual condition would have been beneficial to share with the reader.

I enjoyed Fran and thought her place in the story was a great tie-in to the events that were occurring.  I liked the back story she shared and she helped give definition to Tessa's plight.  When she was first introduced I thought the story has such promising attributes but it just went downhill from there.  The middle section of the story was written in a very uninteresting light and the ending was a flop, it seemed just when I wanted something dramatic occur, I was let down with a fizzle. 

This story does have some positive aspects about it and with some serious editorial tightening and mental illness research, I think The Manicurist could be a great story.

Tessa and Walter have, by all appearances, the perfect marriage. And they seem to be ideal parents for their somewhat rebellious teenage daughter, Regina. Without warning, however, their comfortable lives are thrown into turmoil when a disturbing customer comes into the salon where Tessa works as a manicurist. Suddenly, Tessa's world is turned upside down as revelations come to light about the mother she thought had abandoned her in childhood and the second sight that she so guardedly seeks to keep from others. Phyllis Schieber's first novel, Strictly Personal, for young adults, was published by Fawcett-Juniper. Willing Spirits was published by William Morrow. The Sinner's Guide to Confession was published by Berkley Putnam in 2008. Her short story, The Stocking Store, appears in Bell Bridge Books' 2011 anthology, The Firefly Dance.Married and a mother, Phyllis Schieber lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **