4 out of 4 stars
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I read The Artist's Special Touch by River Wild, and this is a story that definitely leaves a lasting impression on my heart. This touching first novel by the author is a simple, easy-to-read story, yet the storyline still has a depth that will keep the reader immersed until the end.
This book is about a young man named Jackson Henderson who lives with his single mother in the coastal town of Folly Beach, South Carolina. Everything about the town is picturesque, and the story follows Jackson through his late childhood and teenage years in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as into adulthood. Jackson learns at a young age that he loves to paint, and he becomes very talented at it as he starts painting different scenes that he encounters in real life. Much of the story is also about other events of his childhood and the people in his town who help to shape him into the man he becomes. When he is in high school, he meets a waitress named Hannah, who he falls in love with, and the story takes a turn toward romance as Jackson begins to interact more with Hannah. From that point on, there are some unexpected twists and turns to the story that will keep the reader engaged in the lives of the characters.
The author's writing style was very simple, and at first, it may seem that the story is just basic dialogue and events of Jackson's childhood. However, when you continue to read, the characters really come to life, and you realize how they all have a purpose in who Jackson is becoming. There are many very touching moments between Jackson and the people in town, especially Mr. Willie, a man who gives Jackson a job at his automotive business and who becomes like a father to him, being that Jackson's dad lives far away. About halfway through the book, some time after Jackson and Hannah meet, the story really starts to take a turn, and many unexpected twists and emotional events take place. The title of the book will take on a new meaning as an interesting twist to the story takes place, and from there, it is an emotional ride all the way to the end of the book.
While I was reading the book, I happened to think about how many aspects of it reminded me of the country song Paint Me a Birmingham. What is interesting is that I looked up the author after reading the book, and I read an interview with him that states he was inspired by that song! The story is definitely heart-warming and has a southern, small town feel to it.
The only negative to the book is that there are several grammatical errors. Mainly, it was misplaced commas and apostrophes. Sometimes, a comma was where a period needed to be, making a run-on sentence. As far as the story itself goes, I would give 4 stars, but I cannot do that due to the errors.
Overall, I will rate this book 3 out of 4 stars**. However, I would encourage you to not be deterred from reading the story because of that. Being a first book for this author, I think he has done a supreme job of telling this story. When you really get into this book, it will give you chills and leave a lasting heart-warming impression. I saw that this author is writing another book, and I am looking forward to reading it. I feel like the editing will take a turn for the better in future books, and I hope all his books become successful, because I see great potential in his writing. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting an easy, yet emotional story about faith, love, and friendship.
**The minor editing issues in the book have been fixed and the reviewer has upgraded the rating to 4 out of 4.
The Artist’s Special Touch
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