If you follow the reviews on this blog, you are aware that I do not normally review fiction. However, there are rare exceptions to this rule. Borrowed Lives ended up being a bit serendipitous. I agreed to review it mainly because Mr. Crouch approached me in a very professional manner and he actually read my review guidelines (hint, hint to those whom desire a review). With such professionalism, I hoped that the book would be well executed.
I had no grand expectations of this work upon opening to the first page; however, by around the tenth page, I recognized that this is a book well worth my attention. Firstly, to pay the author a compliment: Mr. Crouch is a very good writer. His choices work, down to the most minute detail. In Borrowed Lives, one gets a sense he took his time in not only developing his main characters, but also got to know them. It is very apparent a lot of research went into piecing this work together as his main character slips through the centuries. There are moments where descriptions, at least for me, get a bit drawn out…but for a fiction fan, this is probably something they might savor.
The main character in Borrowed Lives is Ray, whom is introduced in a precarious fashion: ambiguity shades the gender of the character until Ray decides it’s time for us to know the truth. I found this to be rather fun…I also found myself drawn to Ray over time. Crouch carefully weaves this character’s back story in and allows it to unfold, organically. There are times where an author might try this, then fails with poor decision-making on plot and tone; however, that was not the case here. Crouch chose very carefully what to reveal and when; it works out well.
The story itself is a uniquely spun tale of emotional escapism. The book’s plot twists do a really wonderful job of covering up this character trait, until almost the very end. I also found the air of mystery surrounding the crafty form of escapism Ray has created, the fact that we never gain a full understanding of “how she does it”, is a good thing. Readers will find themselves getting caught up in the breathy excitement of the adventures Ray sets out on and wondering where her curious train of thought, will lead her next.
If one is paying close attention to this character, they will soon discover what she is trying to escape from. Mr. Crouch created a character who is very human and using a form of self-preservation that many people use without realizing why. If a reader is so fortunate (and aren’t presently aware) this story will awaken one to some self-discovery and they, like Ray, will walk away with greater understanding of themselves. This alone made the book worth reading for me: there is a subtle message in Borrowed Lives that can teach a life-changing lesson.
As I am known to do, I pay close attention to the book structure and how well it is edited (THIS can make or break a book in my professional opinion). I was rather pleased at how well this book was edited; there were some unexpected issues in one chapter toward the end that caught my eye but not enough to go into great detail. Minor things that one without a discerning eye, may not catch. The formatting was in good shape and laid out well.
I look forward to reading more from Kevin Crouch in the future and implore him to continue writing. Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing your work-wonderful job. Bravo!
To learn more about Kevin Crouch visit his website: http://www.kevincrouchwrites.com/
To purchase Borrowed Lives (and other books by the author) visit: