HOLLYWOOD BOOK FESTIVAL 2013 (honorable mention, general fiction)
“Devon Trevarrow Flaherty, who has been a freelance writer and editor, has joined with her aunt to start Owl and Zebra Press. Her novel ‘Benevolent’ is the press’s first book, which launches online Monday at http://www.benevolent the novel.com.
“‘Benevolent’ chronicles the adventures of Gaby LeFevre, whom Flaherty describes as ‘a Midwestern firecracker, growing up in the 80s and 90s and looking to save the world one homeless person, centenarian, and orphan at a time.”
Then there’s info about the signing on April 8.
Articles in Indy Week, April 3, 2013. The first was the usual event inclusion near the back of the paper, in the Literary section, but the second one was a more prominent listing, hand-selected by the editors and in the “Indy Picks: Full Frame” section. Online, the star means it’s a Pick of the Week and the check mark, that it’s a Recommended Event.
Text reads: “Devon Trevarrow Flaherty. Reading. Regulator Bookshop–Benevolent, the debut novel of Durham author and blogger Devon Trevarrow Flaherty, tells of Gaby LeFevre, a ‘pamphlet-wielding humanitarian’ whose life takes on an epic scope from childhood to college and beyond. It’s influenced heavily by “the Northwyth legends” and features evil queens, explosions and more. I’m just going to say it: More coming-of-age novels need stuff like this. Estranged parents and soured relationships can only take you so far. 7 p.m., free, regulatorbookshop.com. —Zach Smith”
Five star review from Christine Nguyen for Readers’ Favorite. “Flaherty spins a mysterious tale of beauty and magic. Her characters are infused with lovable qualities and personalities that are truly endearing. Each of her characters burrows deep within your heart and stays there. She weaves layers and layers of parallel characters, plots, and subplots with great mastery that lures the readers in from the very beginning and captures their interest and heart throughout the book …. This book will have you reading it throughout the night!” (May 26, 2013)
Indie Reader review by Catherine Langrehr. “Benevolent is an artistic work, almost an exercise in verbal portrait painting or tapestry design, and is well worth exploring for its beautiful images and well-crafted characters …. This story is powerfully and evocatively written. The reader is given a host of perspectives in a sort of prose haiku, communicating feelings, emotions, and viewpoints with a few verbal glimpses and glances. Characters are fleshed out, human, and very lovable, with complicated personalities that do not necessarily reveal themselves all at once. The events of the plot, even the ordinary ones, are touched with a deeper, more substantial meaning that provokes both thought and feeling in the reader. In the end, even the fantasy aspects of the tale seem like natural outgrowths of the story.”
Review from Tracy Beth, book blogger at The Coffee Pot. “An unbelievably imaginative novel that touches the do-gooder inside, this book is a whirlwind of mystery, love, faith, and hope as the characters grow into their destinies …. It’s astounding how this coming of age novel portrays so many life lessons and touches the hearts of its readers …. Flaherty does an amazing job pulling readers into this world where the effects of the unknown are experienced so deeply… I highly recommend it to everyone. Astounding novel that will result in beautiful repercussions.” (Five out of five coffee cups; April 28, 2013)
Review from Natasha Jackson for Readers’ Favorite. “…This a wonderfully written story in which both adults and teens can find comfort …. There are accidents, plenty of them, but there is also love and life and drama and everything that makes a truly fulfilling life. Flaherty does a fantastic job of weaving the tales together and keeping us informed on the lives of Gaby’s friends and enemies. By the end you won’t know who the better storyteller is; John and Mercedes or Flaherty! A must-read for anyone who loves a solid coming of age tale packed with emotion and life.” (May 26, 2013)
Review from Kathryn Bennett for Readers” Favorite. “Flaherty has created a world that is both real and magical and it is that combination of things that will draw you in …. The magic part is perfectly drawn and it was for me the most compelling part of the book. …The way Flaherty creates and uses magic to enhance the overall story was spell-binding. If you like books with a large cast that integrate well you will enjoy Benevolent and its characters like Gaby, The Angel, and Jaden, to name just a few. It is a wonderland of creative prose that will keep your imagination active.” (May 26, 2013)
Review from Erin, a reader on Amazon and GoodReads: “A friend recommended I try this book. I waited a day or two to start it, figuring I’d take my long weekend and mosy through it. But once I started… I just couldn’t put it down! A really enjoyable book! If this author writes anything else, I am totally reading it, immediately.” (Five out of five stars; April 5, 2013)
Review from Tien Taylor, book blogger at The Book Guru. “Devon Flaherty did a splendid job on this novel. I love how descriptive (but not too descriptive) she was. There were nice transitions from settings to settings and character to character. The story was well written and so I say, cute–definitely made me smile. Caught me by surprise.” (April 5, 2013)
Review from Jennifer Haas for Reader Views. “The writing style of Devon is beautiful, very artistic …. I am looking forward to seeing what else she has in store for us. Her vivid imagination and attention to detail really make for a wonderful novelist.”
Synopsis from Zack Smith at Indy Week. “Benevolent, the debut novel of Durham author and blogger Devon Trevarrow Flaherty… tells of Gabby LeFevre, a “pamphlet-wielding humanitarian” whose life takes on an epic scope from childhood to college and beyond. It’s influenced heavily by “the Northwyth legends” and features evil queens, explosions and more. I’m just going to say it: More coming-of-age novels need stuff like this. Estranged parents and soured relationships can only take you so far.” (Pick of the Week and Recommended Event; April 3, 2o13)
And some old, pre-pub comments from the First Readers:
From Heidi, an art therapist in St. Louis: “I love the unexpectedness!” “It’s really strong in the use of detail and creative touches…. Some of the details are so odd in the ‘You can’t make up this stuff’ sense that it feels real.” “There is so much heart and soul here!” “[She] confidently guided us through…” “Likeable characters, interesting detail, great observations on life and human nature.”
From Shelly, an editor in Detroit: “I am so impressed with what [is] accomplished.” “…incredibly full and lovely.” “Some of [the] scenes in Israel… are so graphic, I felt like I was there.” “I can’t say enough about what good writing it is.” “…use of metaphor and allegory are terrific.”