“Almost Right with the World,” by Lucinda O’Neill
Publisher: Lucinda M. O’Neill; February 13, 2016
I had not planned on reviewing this book, yet again, but it popped up in an e-mail and caught my eye. “Almost Right with the World” is Lucinda O’Neill’s first novel, and it was a refreshingly different kind of book! This is the story of Passionella Davenport (also called Pashy, Nell, and so on) and her adventures moving to Newbridge to house-sit for her ex-husband Fletcher. Their marriage ended when Fletcher informed Passionella that he was gay, but they remain very close and amicable. After arriving in Newbridge, she meets her neighbor Julie who is a beautiful, fun, spunky type who also happens to be a raging alcoholic. Julie is also very close with her ex-husband, Jeff, who hangs out at her home quite often. Lastly, there is the mysterious Russian guy in the coffee shop, Efgeny.
Passionella befriends Julie, they hang out, and even start writing a book together with their book club. Otherwise, Passionella hangs out in a coffee shop (I guess looking for work) or is off flirting with Jeff. Passionella seems to develop quite a crush on Jeff early in the novel, but Jeff goes back and forth between lukewarm and ice-cold. Fletcher and Mac come to town to visit and to put on a gay/cross-dresser production at the town theater, and naturally, stay with Passionella at Fletcher’s home, which is tense at first between her and Mac, but they soon become friends. I think I have the cast of characters and their purpose out of the way! As things develop, then stop, then develop more between Jeff and Passionella, Julie is in a downward spiral with her drinking quickly heading to her rock bottom. There’s fairly constant tension between Jeff and Passionella because of his feelings of obligation to Julie, leading to Passionella feeling lonely, out-of-place, and so on.
Let me say that I did really like this novel. O’Neill tapped a unique storyline and created an eclectic group of characters in this novel. However, I didn’t really find any of them very interesting for some reason. After finishing this book, I realized that Passionella really did nothing the entire book except hang out with Jeff, or watch for his car out the window. She pulled it together in the end, but otherwise she really didn’t do much of anything. I disliked Jeff from the beginning of the book, and it didn’t take me long to feel the same about Julie. It’s a credit to the author’s writing to make me dislike a character as much as I did Jeff because there were times I wanted to just jump into the story and smack him. Although I wasn’t a fan of Julie, I did ache for her when she expresses to Passionella how much she misses their friendship, because it was such a raw, vulnerable moment. Efgeny seemed like an interesting, cool guy but his character wasn’t developed as much as it could have been. Besides his clothing, I’m not positive what he was even supposed to look like, but he was a genuine, selfless person that this novel desperately needed. “Almost Right with the World” is something different to put on your reading list. There are varying degrees of romance, but it’s not a sappy novel. O’Neill is an author to watch with her new and different plots, as well as, her realistic writing style.
Take a look at Lucinda O’Neill’s website to learn more about the author and future novels!