This is my first reading experience with author, Alberta Sparks, and her book, “The Big House on Adams Street,” despite being published in 2012. Sparks, no relation to popular fiction author Nicholas Sparks, is a pastor’s wife who previously wrote Sunday school curricula. Alberta was also an associate editor for the Wesleyan Advocate.
About the book:
Fritz, a young wealthy German, immigrates to America and experiences a shipboard romance on the way. His dream is to use his riches to help needy people, providing housing and hopefully developing a community of one accord. His family joins him after a big house has been built in Cincinnati, Ohio. In a variety of totally unexpected episodes, the beautiful, spacious house begins to bring together many unlikely people into a community. The transformation of lives is assisted by an elderly chaplain who is bilingual and has a great store of wisdom.
The book starts out with two families who live next door to each other; Kuntz and Huber. We’re introduced to the characters as they unravel throughout the homes. The story felt rushed. While the characters do not feel to be in a frenzy, the author does.
Everything happens so quickly in the first chapter, you start to wonder if it should have been written as a prologue instead. There is so much going on in so little time, one can’t help but wonder if another story was to be told from these chapters.
The thing that turned me off from this book was the minor inconsistencies in the story. In one paragraph, it was discussed as two months, another, in five. It makes the story hard to follow and it begins a back-forth flow of events.
Fritz ends up being the main character in the story. The first chapter is about his mother and his birth. Fritz begins a house in a pre-Civil War America; only, you don’t get that piece of information until later in the book. Characters are introduced, but no introduction.
The end of the book does that, ends. There’s no lead up. It’s abrupt and disturbing.
Nothing in this novel is fully developed. It’s more of a good outline for something that could be better. Sparks has the writing talent, but she could certainly expand on her characters, structure, and development and slow the pace down.
Disclosure: I was given this book for free from the publisher as part of a book review program. I am not being compensated for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.