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The Things We Bring To The Table
Rod Palmer, author
Lucretia became the Cinderella of Charleston’s elite by marrying the charming Russ Rutledge, but Cree’s blue-collar upbringing wouldn’t let her bask in a life of ease. She heads a reputable nonprofit that facilitates lucrative connections for Russ. Now as her marriage begins to unravel Cree mourns the life that could’ve been had she followed her passion, instead of spending so much energy proving her worth in the marriage. Teetering along depression, suddenly she finds herself staring down a Pandora’s box of an opportunity to become the singer she always desired to be, but unknowingly, at the expense of everything else she holds dear. She barely escapes a car accident with her life, and then a kidnapping for which she suspects her husband is the culprit. A perilous journey to reclaim her life slowly unveils why Cree is so valuable to a man who already has all the money he could spend and can have any woman he wants.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 7 out of 10
Overall: 6.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot/Idea: While The Things We Bring To The Table has an impressively ambitious plot, involving both realist elements and fantasy sections related to the multiverse, these two aspects of the narrative could converge more clearly for readers. The ultimate speculative ending also feels a bit easy, considering the complexity of the preceding story.

Prose: Palmer's prose positively lends a frenetic energy to a fast-paced novel where a lot happens, but the way the story relies on dialogue for exposition can read awkwardly and often occurs too quickly, making the plot confusing to follow at times. Necessary information also comes in information dumps outside of scenes, which unfortunately pulls the reader out of the narrative flow.

Originality: The way that The Things We Bring To The Table attempts to reconcile a plot about multiple worlds with a Christian element involving an angelic figure is original among titles discussing the multiverse. The novel could benefit from this element of the plot being further fleshed out and explored with more nuance. 

Character Development/Execution: Palmer's characterizations are a mixed bag, with some characters developing into well-rounded figures, while others could be developed more. Cree comes off like a rich caricature, but she transforms into a figure with complex emotional depth. Nathaniel, on the other hand, could benefit from deeper characterization, as he currently reads like an angel-like device to forward the plot. 

 

Date Submitted: April 05, 2022

Reviews
Reader's Favorite

Five Stars!

Rod Palmer's The Things We Bring To The Table is an amazing story full of drama and action. Palmer uses touches of sci-fi with multiple dimensions, combined with witty writing, to create unique and interesting characters, which makes for enthralling reading. The characters have an array of personalities - some you will love and some you may hate. Palmer's writing demonstrates how our choices can have different outcomes. Cree and Lulu were the same person but made different choices and led different lives. This is a story that takes you on emotional highs and lows but keeps you reading until the very end.

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