Every now and then I get a request to review a book where the author realizes that I have a fairly eclectic range of books that I read and review. This was one such request and today I am pleased to present my review of The Underground Nest a novella by Kathleen Maher.
About the book:
Never marry a Boy Scout.
When Zachary Severins, dedicated Scoutmaster and community leader, is caught cheating on his wife, she divorces him, his children lose respect for him, and his mistress spurns him. As Zach’s personal life crumbles, his professional career begins to follow. Only after Zach loses everything does he start to learn the true meaning of friendship, love, and responsibility.
Underground Nest, a short novel, is contemporary fiction with a sharp sense of humor but a soft heart for its characters.
If one were to judge all Boy Scouts with the behavior, personality and approach of Zach the organization would have been defunct within a handful of years. Zach is a character that you will find difficult to sympathize with, more than once I caught myself rolling my eyes at his calculated, practiced behavior and his inability to take responsibility for his bad acts. The mind of a nine year old trapped in the body of an outwardly successful, upwardly mobile professor of political science, with a ‘need’ for traveling ‘off-path’ when it suits his sexual desires, he is hardly a likable character.
This is a read that develops a gripping need to know what steps he takes next, just to see if he finds the light and sense to apologize and make amends or continue on the path of self-destruction. While Zach is the main character, he is developed with a facile hand with no judgment or justifications, his misdeeds and insecurities lay out clearly and evenly. Honestly, I had near visceral reactions to his smarmy aura and calculated interactions; they were so well defined and described by the author. He was not completely without redemption however, and those small moments of neediness laced with the honesty of his unguarded reactions did help to improve the overall impression when the story ended.
This is a completely different take on the adultery story that we are commonly used to reading: from the point of view and voice being the perpetrator rather than the cheated on spouse, his insecurities and justifications, and even his arrogance all provide an interesting perspective. This is no story of a mea culpa, even as the world as he knows it comes crumbling down and perhaps that is what makes it feel more pertinent and applicable to the real world situations that many might face.
I received an eBook copy from the author with request for honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I give The Underground Nest 5 out of 5 stars
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About the Author:
Kathleen Maher is a lifelong writer with a number of short stories published in literary journals. She has written several novels that to date are unpublished. Five years ago, after becoming frustrated with the traditional publishing industry, she began a fiction blog, Diary of a Heretic, to post her work in progress and engage with readers. The novella Underground Nest, which began in serial form on the blog, is her first e-book, and she plans to publish more. She is married, the mother of two grown children, and lives in New York City.
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