“Wooing the Echo” by Lee Morgan (Cosmic Egg Books, 2013)
I’ve been blogging about books for almost 3 years now, and I’ve never really thought much before about what an author might think of my review. I know some of the authors I’ve previously reviewed have read my blog… “He’s An Arsehole Anyway” was written by a former student’s older brother and his friend, and my review was shared on their Facebook page. “Courting Samira” was written by a friend of a colleague, and I wrote the author a message on her website which led to her sharing my review as well (which lots and lots of people read!). I know Hugh Howey and Peter FitzSimon have also read previous entries.
This time it’s different, though. This time it feels really personal. Because of this, for the first few chapters, I read with a niggling anxiety. What if I didn’t like the book? What if I thought it was written badly? It is perfectly easy to write my opinion with little concern when the author is some faceless name on the page… but what will I do if I end up wanting to write an unflattering blog post when I have ridden in Lee’s car? Drunk from Lee’s teapot? Laughed with Lee’s children? SLEPT IN LEE’S HOUSE??? This was a responsibility I took very seriously. A burden, almost, through the first part of my reading.
Then I sent Lee a message and I gave myself permission to relax. And that’s when my response to the book really started coming together.
Before I had opened the cover, I thought that “Wooing the Echo” was not my usual kind of book. But by the time I was a few chapters in, I realised that it is exactly my kind of book. This is a book about love and commitment and the lengths someone will go to for the things they believe in and the people they love. But it is not a romance novel. This is a book about taking risks and rejecting ‘normal’. It is a book about acceptance and courage. But it is not an adventure novel. This is a book about looking for purpose and making a difference. But it is not a self-help book. At one point, two of the characters in the novel debate the difference between sensual and sexual acts. This is a book that explores the answer. But it is not an X-rated novel.
Like “Water for Elephants”, “Seeing George”, “Cloudstreet” and so many other books I have mentioned many times before, this is a book that draws you into a world that you care about and offers you characters that are far from perfect, but deeply appealing. Characters for whom you can’t help but feel hope, and for whom you shed a tear.
Let’s face it, most people would buy a book written by a friend because it’s the polite thing to do. I am glad I bought this book and I am glad that I read it. I loved this book, and I look forward to the next one. (The front cover tells me that this is book one in the series, which is excellent news, even if I did already know, because Lee told me!).
If you believe… or want to believe… that there is a real and tangible magic amongst us, then you should read this book.