Shattered Dreams at Rainbow’s End: A Novel About Inheritance and Infidelity

Christopher Horne, PhD

Publisher: Outskirts Press Pages: 217 Price: (paperback) $14.95 ISBN: 9781478796336 Reviewed: October, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

This family saga, fiction based on fact, tells the story of WWII hero Donald Spencer’s life and those lived by his wife and children after his passing.

The omniscient narrative is faith-based, espousing a patriarchal and God-fearing stance and including Bible verses. From this perspective, the novel recounts Donald’s life, first growing up in the Great Depression, then his decorated WWII military service; his marriage to Mary and the birth of their three children; and, despite his disability from war wounds, his becoming a community leader working hard to fund a retirement dream and legacy for his family.

But Donald dies earlier than most, and his widow’s decision to remarry strains relationships with her adult children. Deborah and Danny, motivated by greed and jealousy of their younger brother Charles, are deceptive and manipulative in dealing with their elders’ care and assets.

The novel’s focus then shifts to Charles’ life, recounting his devotion to academic advancement and socializing and overseas travel to further his career, which breeds personal failings and infidelity that threaten his marriage.

Predominantly set in North Carolina, the story touches on racial segregation and violence in the 1950s to 1970s, and differences Charles observes between American and Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures. The author strives for open-mindedness, but many will find the tone implied by language (e.g. “the natives”) awkward at best.

The narrative is repetitious (sometimes verbatim), but its key weakness lies in consistently “telling” rather than “showing” what occurred: “Charles was excited to take road trips with his father; such car rides with Donald were both memorable and instructional.” The author’s own voice is progressively more intrusive, e.g. “For those young folk reading this book, please know how important it is to check your skin… detecting melanoma early is the key” when a character dies from skin cancer.

Such flaws greatly hamper the novel’s effectiveness. Even readers who appreciate the narrative’s religious bent will find it difficult to engage with this story.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
High Point, North Carolina
Available to buy at: