ILLUMINATION

ILLUMINATION ISBN: 9780998964829, published, copyright, and written by Skeila M. Sullivan.

 

In this second book in the F.O.K. series, Francis (Olar Kavanaugh) receives an official letter informing her that she no longer is part of the family and she has been removed from the family will. Her older brother Bernard and sisters Agatha and Edna were in charge, as always. Her younger sister Theresa from New York where she was living with her girlfriend Kelly, had extended her stay with Frances and claimed no knowledge of the action. However, she discovers that Theresa actually had participated in telephone calls with her sisters and not been truthful with her. Frances’s world begins to come apart. The feeling deepens further as she attempts to attend the family’s reunion where she is brutally rejected by both mother and father. The tale follows her reaction to this devastating abandonment by a family who had been her life until they not only refused to accept her new life style, but actually reacted quite viciously toward her and the choices she had made. The activity expands as members of her Buena Vista Irish Coffee club rally around her, new people enter the scene and the action advances to attempt to aid Frances to recover from these devastating actions.

Discussion: The story picks up where the first book ended, and Frances with her most unusual group of friends, continues to move through life in a rather confused manner with now the additional desperate need to adjust to the devastating loss of family. It appears that the mental change required is particularly difficult because Frances seems always to have been a sensitive and highly emotional individual that followed the family’s bidding. She had loved art and the piano. She was provided piano lessons but no art was allowed. And from a brutal confrontation with her father at the opening of a one person show of her paintings at a prestigious gallery, the reader discovers that even the education she had acquired was to move into her father’s business because apparently she could more adroitly handle parts of it that her father could not handle as well, if at all. This second book once more is well written with often amusing incidents but also containing scenes with a degree of actual pathos. Most of the characters are carried forward from book one and new ones of interest acquired. Frances’ self-noted Klutzy action seem to increase considerably, perhaps attempting to portray an increase in her mental disturbance/distraction, and again a number of ‘side issues’ only tangentially pertinent to the plot appear. It is suggested, although not required, that an individual anticipating reading this book, at least skim the first in the series for more thorough understanding of the underlying problems appearing here and in the rest of the anticipated series.

4* Interestingly presented second in series, with a suggestion.

Spectrum

Spectrum ISBN: 9780998964805, published, copyright and written by Shelia M. Sullivan.

The story opens with Frances Olar Kavenaugh, one of the children of a large devout Irish Catholic family living in Missouri, who is completely grounded in the edicts of the church. Her first career love was art but was severely frowned upon and cancelled by her parents. She obtained a PhD in economics and began a career in consulting. Successful but unhappy with the choice and in spite of gaining a very lucrative career, she decided to become an artist, abandoned her lucrative career, and moved to San Francisco and rented a studio. She married a man who began to control her life, a partner selection probably influenced to a greater or lesser extent by her mother’s controlling tendency and the strength of the religious influence. Now finally divorced she has moved into a loft converted it to a studio, and rejoins friends she deserted during the two-year period of marriage. The friends in her “Buena Vista Irish Coffee Club are a motley group consisting of husband and wife Russell and Simon, Cheryl and Winter who was supposed to help her reenter the dating game. The group discuss the various prospects, although Winter’s help is somewhat curtailed with her involvement with Jason. The discussion leads to further thought on Francis’ part, Nathan, a highly successful art dealer accepts her work and the story continues following her journey to ‘find the true Francis and a satisfying way of life and love.’ Along the way she finds a number of interesting characters of both sexes, experiences ecstatic love and disappointment, discovers unrealized facts about members of her family and is threatened by a matter that she had completely overlooked.

Discussion: This is the first book in the F.O.K. (Francis Olar Kavanaugh) series. It follows the life of this young woman from a seemingly somewhat dysfunctional family as she, accompanied by zany friends, moves through life in a rather confused manner discovering alternative romantic attachments and unsuspected danger along the way. It is well written, providing often amusing incidents and interesting characters. At times it is a little slow moving and contains many ‘side issues’ that, although not seemingly pertinent to the plot, do contribute to the entire tale.

4* A well done tale of a young woman’s alternative life style investigation.