A Lovely, Indecent Departure - Steven Lee Gilbert (Review & Giveaway)

5 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Author's website) -
Anna Miller wants only one thing, her son, and she will do anything to keep him. When a district court awards custody of Oliver to his father, she abducts the five year old and flees to Italy where with her family's help they disappear into the fabric of her native homeland. Told in prose that is both stripped-down and overpowering, Gilbert shapes the everyday conflict of child custody into a stunning search for sense of worth. Standing in the young woman's way is Evan Meade, the boy's guileful and mean-spirited father, who hires a private investigator when the efforts of the embattled local sheriff, Monroe Rossi, fail to track them down. But as the investigation draws them all closer to Anna, Evan's true nature betrays itself and the question of what's in the child's best interest becomes not so clear anymore.
Objectively detailed, in a voice that refuses to intrude on the minds of its characters, A Lovely, Indecent Departure, captures in stark detail a world in which modern archetypes are turned upside down and shows what an extraordinary splash Steven Lee Gilbert has made with his first novel.

Steven Lee Gilbert was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana but considers his childhood home the green, rolling foothills of East Tennessee and the southern Appalachia mountains, settlement to all sorts of interesting people, composites of which can be found throughout his writing. Most of his adulthood he’s spent in the Sandhills and Piedmont of central North Carolina, where he lives now with his wife and family. 
His work has been published in the Raleigh News & Observer, The Independent Weekly, Diabetes Health, and at Lifescripts.com, and he is author of the blog, Without Envy. A LOVELY, INDECENT DEPARTURE is his first novel. Visit the author at his website - HERE

Oh my goodness I just loved this book! This was a page turner if I ever read one. I absolutely HAD to know what was going to happen.

I, right away, felt a connection to this book. Maybe it was because I am a divorced mother and went through hell with visitations when my daughter was young until I finally got full custody and my current husband could adopt her as his own. Everytime "her father" took her for visitation I was worried he wouldn't bring her back. And yes, I did think of just taking her and running away - several times actually! But I stuck it out and waited. This story could have been about me and my daughter! I don't think the author had any idea when he asked me to review this of the connection I would have with it.

I don't think you have to go through any of this to fully enjoy or connect with the book though. It is so well written, the characters so well developed, the "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" plot so interesting - it all keeps you reading and wondering what will happen next.

It is written in third person about three main characters.
Anna, the Mom - She takes her son (Oliver) and runs away to Florence Italy and is in hiding from her ex-husband. I loved Anna and felt such a connection to her, of course. She was portrayed as such a great, kind, and loving mom. With the full support of an extended family was able to pull this off.
Evan, the Dad - you start out thinking - how bad could he be? right? He just wants his son back and will do ANYTHING to get him. But when revenge against Anna becomes far more important than his son you find out what he is capable of.
Monroe, the Sheriff - During the whole investigation you are kept wondering what is his part in all this, and where does he stand. Who's side is he on? Even in the end you are not sure what really happened - which I think was perfect. Sometimes you are not meant to know everything.
"The law itself doesn't keep people from doing bad things. Its the fear of getting caught, or as you put it, the risk of going to jail. In most cases there's nothing especially remarkable about people who break the law. Take this boy's mother for instance. She's probably not very different from any other law abiding citizen you might run into. She works to provide for herself and her son. She pays her taxes. She's a vital part of the community. In fact, the only real difference between her and anyone else is where one has hope the other has none and filling that hole is something called desperation." That says it all! An abused woman or a single mother does act out of desperation. That's all she feel in times like those - desperate.
One of my favorite touching scenes between mother and son -
"Why yellow?
I don't know. It makes me think of you. Like the sun.
She let him take her hand and ease it down into the yellow paint. He pushed down gently on the back of her hand, making sure the paint oozed into all the creases.
Doesn't that feel like the sun? he asked, then he whispered into her ear: Just pretend." Wow this brings tears to my eyes, it is so touching.
All the characters are equally developed. You get to know each one. And even though it is written in third person I think the author did an excellent job at showing their personalities. It was different, but I liked it. It gave you a better sense of everything that was happening instead of just one person's point of view. Also - there are no quotation marks for the conversations! This bugged me for about one page, LOL. Then I got used to it, then I kind of liked it and saw its purpose. Its like we are not really meant to hear them, its like were are eavesdropping on private moments, like spying through a window.

There were a couple of shockers that kept the story interesting. Even though I had hopes for a happy ending - I truly didn't know which way it was going to turn.

All in all this was a very beautiful, suspenseful, intense, sad, and touching story! And I loved the whole Italian flair. There were several parts written in Italian and I don't know any Ital. but I loved it! It made it so much more real. This story reminded me very much of another of my favorite books - "The Escape Artist" by Diane Chamberlain, which was also about a mother taking her son and going into hiding.
* There is some swearing and violence.

Thank you to the author for sending me this e-book to read and review!
The author has agreed to giveaway a paperback copy of this book.

* To win a copy of this amazing book, please fill out the form below.
* Please US only.
And please only enter once!
* Winner will be chosen on Sept. 17th
* Winner will have 48 hrs. to respond.

Buy from B&N - HERE
and from Amazon - HERE


  1. So glad this book is getting more readers! Awesome read! Steven did a guest post and we did a giveaway too. I agree about the tender moments ... and the shockers! :)

    Here's my review: http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.ca/2012/08/a-lovely-indecent-departure-by-steven.html

  2. This post touched me. I entered to win. I love you mommy and I truly appreciate everything you went through to give me the amazing life that we have together!

  3. I recently read and reviewed this book as well, but had a very different view of it. I'm really glad you enjoyed it though. :)

    1. I read your review. Isn't it funny how things that bothered you didn't bother me at all. And I also didn't feel like we needed to know about their past. I felt like it was walking in on their lives right now, and watching them through a window... you aren't suppose to know everything. But, sometimes this bothers people, its not their kind of thing.
      I liked your review! and I did agree with parts. Thanks for commenting.

    2. It's always funny to see what people pick out to talk about in their reviews, and what works for them and what doesn't. Im just one of those readers that likes lots of background. That's why I love the book blogging community so much because we can have completely different perspectives on books and a lot of the time it opens you up to new thoughts and experiences. Thanks for stopping by to read my review.

  4. OH.MY. I just melted into a gooey puddle with your extract about the yellow paint. I'll have to read this soon!


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