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Shawn Keller Cooper
Turn Of The Silver Wheel
Suspicion, deception, and fear are chasing Penelope Prince from her picture-perfect life. As the dark energy escalates, she realizes her sanctuary is a trap she willingly walked into decades ago to escape the paralyzing pain of a college nightmare. Stalked by secrets from her past, Penn is discovering her greatest battle may be with herself. The pursuit to reclaim the free-spirited artist she once was quickly deteriorates into a desperate and dangerous fight to save her life. Two years after Drawing Down The Moon, the second book in the James Island Trilogy highlights the lives of Penelope, Jade, and Emerson from their college sorority days through the trials and tribulations of womanhood, miscarriages and motherhood, sexual assault, sweet summer loves, and bonds of friendship that strain but never break. Weaving threads of connection, the story of Agnes, their mysterious mentor, continues to explore the vision and violence that influence her mystical journey. Like a wheel careening downhill, challenges and choices accumulate like debris. Can Penn or Agnes prevent the past from destroying her future? Emphasizing veracity and tenacity, Turn Of The Silver Wheel celebrates the courage and creativity vital to revolve and evolve.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 8.25 out of 10


Plot: Cooper's novel has a fairly standard plot, which is a storyline of multiple female characters whose lives crisscross over time. However, it has less worn tropes, such as some fun witchcraft, and a focus on sorority sisters. Despite the possibility for falling into cliché themes, the author expertly avoids it through her lovely prose, interesting characters, and unique plot nuances.

Prose/Style: Cooper writes romance quite well. She is fabulous at making one's heart race with her simple yet effective writing. Her descriptions of a crush, an intense romance, the ends of a failing marriage, heartbreak, and everything in between are beautiful, elegant, and poignant.

Originality: Although Cooper’s book does at times enter the trope of sisterhood novels, it deviates enough from the norm that it leaves the reader fascinated and clamoring to get to the next page. Cooper has taken a tried-and-true novel format and made it her own, breathing new life into what could have been stale.

Character Development/Execution: Along with her prose, what really puts Cooper's novel ahead of others is her character execution. Her characters feel real; they feel like one’s friends, one’s enemies, a sexy one-night-stand, or a mysterious, older mentor. She writes in a way that plunges the reader into the lives of her characters, keeping them sympathetic while not annoying or pathetic. The reader will be pleased to find that not only can Cooper write believable women of all ages, but she can also write men that leap off the page, showing their strength and weaknesses.

Date Submitted: August 31, 2021