Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Mothers and Other Strangers

Family is supposed to be a safe haven, an island holding back a sea of pain, regret, and troubles. Yet, sometimes, the sharks circling you are the very family that is supposed to protect you. A mother, father, sister—or even grandma---with sinister intentions can rip your heart apart, turning home into a nightmare.

Be careful where your eyes roam in Mothers & Other Strangers. The stories and poems inside may resonate in your own heart and make you reevaluate just what family really means.

***Some stories contain adult material.***

This eBook contains eleven short stories and five poems for your reading pleasure. .

Free on Amazon


"Mothers and Other Strangers" is an anthology that includes a range of eclectic stories from the heart-warming to the surreal. I browsed the collection rather than reading from cover to cover, enough to verify that the content is well written and thoroughly edited. In particular, I enjoyed "One Last Request" by Theresa Leschmann.
And "The Honeybees" by Amy Browne brought tears to my eyes. This definitely seems to be a great collection of shorts and poems put together by a talented group of writers.

At the author's request, I am focusing my review specifically on one story in particular--"The Butterfly" by Robert Arend. To quote the author: "The story itself is homage to one of the greatest horror writers of all time: H.P. Lovecraft."

For the benefit of the uninitiated, H.P. Lovecraft is a classic horror novelist known for his works written in the early 20th Century. He has been highly influentially within the genre.  Wikipedia article.

Without giving away any spoilers, "The Butterfly" is told from the perspective of a non-human protagonist. The story takes a swift turn for the surreal when the main character is called home by his mother and given the news that his father has "reincarnated" as a caterpillar. 

The story begins with the protagonist trapped in the basement of a decaying house while a monster rampages above, and then he goes on to tell the tale of his mother and "father". The author created immediate empathy for his hero in the reader's mind and then used that reaction as the platform for the telling of past events. My initial reaction  swiftly transformed from curiosity to distress and then revulsion. So far as horror tales go, the story was evocative and definitely delivered. 

Horror is not my favorite genre but I definitely recommend this macabre tale to readers interested in horror with a Lovecraft twist.

Author Bio:

Robert L. Arend (known by his many (12 or fewer) Facebook friends as “The Robert” is the editor and one of a number (8 or less)of contributing short story writers for the Circle 8 Writers Group short story/flash fiction/poetry anthologies. Born before fan fiction (bff), Robert grew up in a household where his needs were meant far more so than his wants, causing him to suspect he’d been kidnapped when an infant from parents who would have given him everything he asked for. He never was reunited with those parents, but he wants them to know (if they are still alive) that he loves them and to get in touch via Facebook so he can let them know what he wants for Christmas, and all those other Christmases and birthdays they missed because he was kidnapped.

Where to find The Robert:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review of "Mothers & Other Strangers", Melissa. Our deepest appreciation is for your acknowledgement that the collected works in this volume were "thoroughly edited". None of C8's catalogue of anthologies were slapped together, but put through the editorial fires and polished in respect for the customers who would purchase and read them. That is why "Mothers & Other Strangers" was made permanently free: to introduce readers to our talented authors without monetary risk, and with the hope the free download will encourage unwary purchase of our other books as well.