Friday, March 26, 2010

Review: Conscience Point by Erica Abeel

Conscience Point by Erica Abeel is the story of Maddy Shaye, a woman “with all the luck,” who seems to have it all: she has a successful career as both a concert pianist and an arts reporter, is in love with adoring Nick and has a close relationship with her grown daughter Laila. But then everything starts to unravel...

Eight pages into Conscience Point, I nearly gave up on it: Abeel’s overuse of ellipsis points was driving me crazy (they appear about 20 times in those eight pages), plus the sex scene made me cringe.* Luckily, I chastised myself for my lack of perseverance–surely the book deserved at least a 50-page chance!—and picked it up again. Ironically enough, after page 8, the ellipses all but disappear and the story quickly picks up the pace.

Although the book is mostly written in the third person, it begins with—and occasionally lapses into—a first-person segment that make it clear that Maddie is actually writing her own story, a “faux memoir,” as she calls it. This device worked well: although I sometimes found the writing style frustratingly cryptic (or at least there were many references that sailed over my head), Maddie’s character is so well developed and so believable that it was Maddie I was frustrated with and not Abeel.

My favourite part of the story was the Gothic mystery—in the end I tore through the book to find out what had happened—and this despite the fact that I found the idea of the love triangle fairly distasteful. Although this book was not an easy read—it was definitely outside my comfort zone—I’m glad I gave it a second chance.

To read other reviews of this book, visit these blogs:
Booking MamaBookstackDiary of an EccentricLinus’s BlanketLiterary LicenseSavvy Verse & WitS. Krishna’s Books

To read an interview with the author, visit this site:
Novel Journey

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review.

This book review is part of the Spotlight Series tour for Unbridled Books. Visit the Spotlight Series site for a list of other tour stops.

*I later reread it and it didn’t seem that bad.


  1. Well, I'm no fan of cringe-able sex scenes, although it's sort of fun for me to notice how often the same cringe-able things keep occurring (once I even asked my husband - do guys really LIKE this? - he refused to answer on the grounds that it would incriminate him).

  2. Thanks for participating! Overabundance of ellipses really annoy me, too. It takes me ages to read one page that way! I also really like gothic mysteries, so I may give this a chance. Hmm...

  3. Sounds like an interesting book - too bad the beginning wasn't edited better.

  4. Not into gothic mysteries.will have to think about this one.

  5. This was definitely not an easy read, butI think the complexity was purposeful and it worked with the story. I am glad that you gave it another chance and enjoyed it. I don't even remember the sex scene. Now I wonder if it bothered me at some point.

  6. Jill, on second reading the sex scene wasn't as bad as I'd remembered. Hmm, I think your husband just incriminated himself anyway!

    Aarti, thanks for putting together this tour (with Chris and Amy)! I'd be curious to hear what you think of this one, if you decide to read it.

    Kathy, the beginning was definitely unfortunate; I wasn't the only one who had trouble getting into this book.

    Nicole (Tribute Books), if you don't like Gothic mysteries, you might want to give this one a miss.

    Nicole (Linus's Blanket), I agree, the writing felt very deliberate and that mostly worked for me (it felt very true to the character, somehow). I could definitely relate to some of Maddy's thoughts processes re: her suspicions/jealousy!

  7. Kudos to you for giving it the 50 pages. Overuse of unnecessary ellipses *and* a bad sex scene sound like two insurmountable barriers to me!

  8. I had a hard time getting into this book as well, but after letting it sit for a while in my mind I appreciated it more than I thought.

  9. This sounds interesting. I may have to give it a try. Too bad about the ellipsis. That would annoy me too!

  10. Sounds like an interesting book, but if it were me, I think I would have given up on the book very very early. =/

  11. Sounds interesting, good for you for sticking with it!

  12. Thanks for the link. Sounds like you enjoyed this one a lot more than I did. :)

    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. Ooh, apologies for not replying to your comments sooner!

    Megan, luckily the ellipses went away and there were no repeats of the bad sex scene! (And as I said in my review, it didn't strike me as that bad when I reread it.)

    Serena, that was my experience too. After first reading it, I thought I wouldn't give this author another try, but now that some time has elapsed and I've thought about it more, I just might.

    Aths, well, if the ellipses bug you too, at least you know that they pretty much disappear after page 8!

    Linda, if I hadn't accepted it for review, I probably would have given up after 8 pages, but I'm kinda glad I didn't.

    Thanks, Kathleen!

    Anna, I did enjoy it more than you did, although like you, I found Nick's attraction a bit of a mystery.