Author: Mark W. Sasse
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Recommended Age: Adult
Reviewed By: Engelia McCullough, http://engeliamccullough.blogspot.com/
In Beauty Rising written by Mark W. Sasse, the reader is introduced to Martin Kinney, Jr. Martin is a late thirty-something who still lives with his parents in a small town. Leading a life where the highlight of his week is Tuesday night bowling, the death of Martin’s emotionally distant father brings some well needed change. Given an assignment by his dying father, Martin travels to Vietnam where he makes an unlikely friend in the cab driver, Tan who shows him the beauty of the country. As a result, Martin begins to reflect internally on the changes needed in his own life.
Reinvigorated by his trip, Martin returns home a bit more assertive. Something that is not received well by his “me” focused mother. Just as he’s adapting to a new normal, a figure shows up in his small town that will change his life and those around him forever.
I was thoroughly engrossed in the book at the beginning. The reader is introduced to Martin as he arrives in Vietnam and then there is a jump back to Martin Sr. on his deathbed. The imagery used puts you right on the busy streets of Vietnam feeling the chaos just as Martin does. Or even in the wooden chair Martin sits in as his dad pours out his innermost desires to him.
The book has an even pace until the middle and then some events occur that rushes the storyline. The essential elements of plot are there but the development of the characters and settings can leave the reader wanting more. The dialogue is a bit forced in some places and can take you out of the believability of the characters but you’ll still be able to connect with Martin and My Phoung.
There were some loose ends at the end of the book. For instance, it’s not explained to the reader what happens to Martin’s mother. This is a crucial part of the book and I found it hard to believe how Martin moves on at the end with a new life given this unresolved issue. I would love to be more specific regarding his mother but I don’t want to give too much of the book away. The real life experiences that connect the author to Vietnam are prevalent throughout Beauty Rising. I liked the interweaving of history in the book as seen in the Hanoi chapter. It was interesting and enhanced the storyline without being overbearing. This is a read for those that enjoy a cultural based story and an interesting love story.
Author Website: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-W-Sasse/e/B0058BFJHU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0