In this romantic novel, title character Mary Poser knows exactly who she is and where she’s going—until an encounter with an unusual man.
Raised in Nashville by a Baptist preacher father and overbearing Southern mother, Mary’s life has been predictably stable, with the pride of fulfilled expectations. But at an international film festival, she meets Simha Das, a beautiful and exotic Indian film director, and in an unexpected moment, her certainty about her future dissolves. Fearful that her devoutly Christian family would never accept her falling in love with a Hindu, she tries to maintain her distance from Simha, regardless of their intense connection, and opts to start a life with a man her parents love, but who broke her heart.
As the story unfolds, some drawbacks become evident. Simha tries to teach Mary the basics of his religion, but through this character, the author paints a one-dimensional picture of Hinduism, reducing it to generic buzzwords (“chakras,” “idols,” “divine feminine energy,” etc.) rather than conveying a rich, ideological philosophy. When Mary perceives that Simha has disrespected her faith and values, readers may wonder why her religion is the only one that seems to be taken seriously.
The author does a nice job of describing Nashville: its beauty, neighborhoods, and country western music heritage. Eventually, however, its sweet southern charm becomes cloying, complete with fresh apple pies delivered in gingham clothed baskets and phonetically written dialects (“singin’,” “dancin’”). Thus, a Harlequin-style sex scene inserted into such a Rockwellian lifestyle setting feels cringeworthy and jarring.
At book’s end, two plot points only hinted at previously suddenly become critical to the story, begging the question of why readers were left out of the loop. While the writing is pleasant and some characters are compelling, these surprises are jolting and frustrating.
Ultimately, Mary Poser falters under the weight of its flaws. While the conceit is promising, revision would greatly enhance the book’s appeal.
Also available as an ebook.
Author Platform: Foreword Reviews 2107 Indie Book of the Year Finalist, category Multicultural;
2018 International Book Awards Finalist, category Multicultural; long-listed for the Book Viral Award; 2018 AmericanBook Fest Best Book Award, category Inspirational; 2018 NYC Big Book Award, category Body Mind Spirit