Escaping the Past in “Transformations”, by James Foley Smathers – Book Review

My friend’s dad, who is very large in stature and personality, gave me Transformations with the instruction to ‘read it.’ Out of respect and a sense of obligation, I did as told with little expectation. This is the first book for James Smathers, a retired marine and Vietnam veteran, and I was pleasantly surprised. I read it in two days.

The story tracks two main characters, Helen Warner and Jackson Andrews, who have a chance encounter in the Bahamas after their respective marriages fall apart.

By Mr James Foley Smathers

The manner in which those marriages fall apart is fairly pedestrian. The ensuing levels of revenge in which the jilted lovers engage is not. Knowing that Smathers is happily married for decades makes one wonder where he came up with his ideas but, hey, that is what fiction is all about, right?

Smathers’ dialogue is a bit stilted with run-ons and hazy transitions which sometimes requires back tracking in order to figure out which character is actually speaking. And his attempt to replicate the local Bahamian accent is overwrought and feels more like a nod to southern slaves in the 19th century, although you do get the point. There are also some punctuation errors which are typical in a self-published book. 

Those things aside, the story telling is sound and the book moves along at a fast clip. Smathers demonstrates vast knowledge on the Bahamas, marlin fishing, addiction recovery, small aircraft flight and maintenance, and bearer bonds. Whether those insights are personal or based on research, they add texture to a classic story line of love lost and new love found.

Fun summer vacation read.

Published: 2016
Publisher: Self Published, James Foley Smathers

Elizabeth’s rating: 3 stars