I first met Lisa Mangum at an ANWA writer's conference in Phoenix several years ago. She was the keynote speaker, and as acquisitions editor at Deseret Book, she loomed larger than life. I was shy about talking with her, even though I had already had three books published by Deseret Book. She put me at my ease, though, and when she commented that she liked my way with dialogue, I was prepared to be friends for life.
That was before she sent me a rejection letter for the last romance I sent in to Deseret Book.
Now, I ask you, would you trust someone to review your first novel if you had just rejected their book? I guess I look like a benign little old lady, because Lisa even wrote something nice on the flyleaf before she gave it to me.
I must admit, I had a bit of a 'how good can this be?' feeling when I first opened the book, not only because of the rejection, but because I don't read young adult books. Or fantasies. Are you keeping count? Is that three strikes?
Well, Lisa had me at the prologue. Gorgeously written, the whole book is a sensory experience. It's like slathering yourself in some rare and fragrant unguent while lying in a lush, leafy glade listening to a rhapsody. Eating chocolate. Lisa's wonderful prose engages every sense.
This story is told in the first person, which is very hard to do. Lisa has done it well.
Set in contemporary times, mostly, the story is told by Abby, who meets and falls for an exotic Italian transfer student who appears in the drama class where she is assistant director of the school play. Abby has a boyfriend, the solid and predictable boy next door, but she is drawn to the intense and mysterious Dante. As she tumbles into love with him, she tumbles into a situation that bends the boundaries of all she has ever known and teaches her about love and truth and sacrifice and possibilities, and about the boy next door.
The Hourglass Door is a yummy book. The most delicious thing about it is that there's going to be a sequel.
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