Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Fallen Over Book Reviews:

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Dawn of Hope

by Peter Prichard

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 978-1478746942

Synopsis:

“Excuse me, young lady. We have the ambulance on their way, and they want to know what happened to Drew Winston.” “He said he was going to do me good,” Dawn replied purposefully to the administrative assistant in the high-school office. “I wanted to make sure that everyone in this school knew that would never ever happen.  I pushed him away and tripped him, and as he fell, he hit his head on the corner of a water fountain, which was not my intent. He’s bleeding from his head and is in convulsions.”

Within twenty-four hours of beginning her senior year at Fair Shore High School as a new student, Dawn Mortenson had chosen to fight the town’s acceptance of the bullying and sexual abuse of young women by confronting Drew Winston, the school’s All-American quarterback. Following that confrontation, she received multiple death threats, so her mother had to hire a security firm to protect herself and her daughter. That move did not work, as Dawn was kidnapped soon afterwards and ended up in the hospital.

When Dawn had been released from the hospital, she had already gained a national reputation, which attracted more people who wanted her dead. She survived the bombing of a building she was visiting, which prompted FBI involvement. She stunned the agent who interviewed her, when in answer to his question about people who would like her killed, she was able to provide evidence of over fifty individuals who had specifically threatened her-including a police officer from her hometown, who had told her that he hoped the next attempt on her life would succeed.

Dawn also clashed at times with those who even supported her efforts. A reporter in town had presented himself as someone who wanted to help. In describing why the culture of rape, bullying, and abuse has been tolerated in town, he ended with the statement, “Everybody is seen as winning, male and female alike. It is a great American success story. Fair Shore residents have paid top dollar to join the winning team and are disinclined to raise any questions about the unsavory practices that support its continuation. There is a feeling that ‘boys will be boys.'”

In response, Dawn exploded, “And you choose to support this? Goddamn you. Goddamn all of you. Let’s only hope, Mr. Bruschi, that the success of this ‘everybody-wins’ model spreads to towns all across America. Let’s only hope that, within a few years, tens of thousands of young women can be treated the Fair Shore way and be raped without comment, so that ‘boys can be boys.'” As she turned and headed toward the door, Joseph moved quickly to stop her. “Dawn, don’t leave.” “Go to hell. I thought there was hope with you because of some of the writing you’ve done. That series you did on the woman who overcame severe automobile injuries and resumed her career as an engineer after everybody said she would never work again was powerful.” “She is a remarkably brave young lady.” “And there are a lot of them out there, but your silence is ensuring that they will have to fight that much harder to create the stories they were born to tell.”

Dawn’s battle against the status quo lands a number of friends and enemies either in the hospital, in jail, or in an early grave. She uses rock-and-roll through befriending high-school band members who write their own lyrics that challenge the status quo, along with a combination of personal courage and mental toughness, to change the town forever, although at a huge personal cost.

Critique:

When I started this book I was really getting into and I found myself not putting it down but as I continue reading than I started slowing down. I am not sure why but it became not as interesting to me.  I think maybe because of so many situations that Dawn found herself in it was like really this is happening to her again?

Dawn moved into a new town where football is the big thing in that town. When she is confronted by the star of the football team this is what starts the roller coaster ride. There is more to this town than meets the eye it seems they don’t mind how their football players act because the football team is the best. Dawn doesn’t agree with this and brings their actions to the forefront of everything which in turn makes her a target. Now the way Dawn talked at times and handled situations she didn’t come across as a teenager more like an older adult, which I guess is what the author wanted to go for.

Some of the scenes were like wow and the way it was handled I felt was very grown up for Dawn.

Now Dawn and her mother have a wonderful relationship and I was very impressed with how her mother was behind every decision Dawn decided to make. Though there was one scene that I didn’t really understand why her mother acted that way. Just her anger towards Dawn for voicing her concern really bothered me. I did enjoy how Dawn built people up and voiced her opinions on things but did it in a way that made people look up to her and wanted change. When everything goes down Dawn sees who her true friends are and who are just there to make a name for themselves through her.

I plan on reading book two to see what else will Dawn be doing and how she will be changing towns and the maybe the world with her ideas and opinions.

reviewed by Autumn of Fallen Over Book Reviews ]

Here’s what other reviewers are saying:
Peter Prichard’s Dawn of Hope, is a compelling much needed political treatise masking as a debut novel. He is not so much a master storyteller as he is a veteran activist shouting from a platform. The drama in Dawn of Hope is the little bit of sugar sure indeed helps the medicine go down.

In the tradition of novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Prichard addresses some of the major social injustice issues of our time. Dawn Mortenson, the novel’s heroine battles issues of sexual abuse and violence at in personal, social and political settings of early 21st century America. To do so Prichard’s narrative arc runs through a wealthy suburban Connecticut town, corporate America, NPR and the liberal activist community in its wake This project takes in a great, great deal in nearly 200 pages. Whew.

Part novel, part opera, Dawn of Hope leaves little to the imagination. Dawn, and the other actors in this drama, are clearly drawn with their talents and flaws on full display. The good ones are really good, and the bad ones are insufferably bad. While its hard to imagine any one person being just like Dawn, she is nonetheless a compelling compilation of other young women who have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous sexism. Throughout the novel Dawn is often bloodied (literarily and figuratively) but she is never bowed. A relentless upward arc that pulls the reader along.

At the end, I was left with the sense we just might have the beginnings of a super heroine series on our hands. Dawn Mortenson can certainly take on other adversaries in the cause of social justice. Prichard now needs to find other settings for her immeasurable talents.

Those who care about gender bias, sexual abuse and social justice won’t be able to put Dawn of Hope down; those on other side of the aisle may have difficulty picking it up. No matter. The encouragement and the inspiration provided to those who do read it may just propel us to a better world.

– Amazon Reviewer Douglas Ferguson

Dawn of Hope is a solid read about an inspiring young woman who is extremely courageous and mature beyond her years. Her keen insight and self awareness enables Dawn to have a positive impact on society and those around her. Kudos to Dawn for embracing her power!

The first half of the book was a page turner and I felt very invested in Dawn’s story. The second half of the book was jam-packed with action and messages, but for me, there were too many fantastical turn of events, so it was hard to keep believing in the awesome idea of Dawn. Perhaps stretching Dawn’s story out over a longer period of time will recharge my early excitement about Dawn – I’m eager to read Prichard’s sequel for this very reason. Tackling many social issues and influences in one small book is an enormous task. Hopefully, by introducing Dawn of the Tobacco Wars and beyond, Prichard can build depth around his many brilliant ideas and continue to make Dawn a relatable heroine.

An excellent first book. I suspect Prichard’s books are going to get even better over time.

– Amazon Reviewer Ex-Hack
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Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

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