A Writer's Journey

August 25, 2014

Book Analysis: The Typewriter Girl by J.L. Jarvis

Filed under: journey,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Time for another book analysis! This time, it’s self-published. So it’ll be new for me.

Once again, these analyses are not reviews. They are me looking at a book I just read and seeing what I learn from each of them—good or bad. If you want a review, check out my other blog—Reading by the Moonlight. (Shameless plug!)

So, SPOILERS ahead!

“The Typewriter Girl” is set at the turn of the 20th century. Emma Farlowe arrives to type up the memoir of Benjamin Stark, who survived an expedition to find gold in the Yukon. He also experienced a great tragedy out there, one he is not keen to talk about. Emma is drawn to him and he finally lets her learn about his deep secret. It doesn’t scare her off and the two begin a relationship.

But Emma’s own secret becomes an obstacle. Hers? She’s an heiress, runaway from an unwanted marriage. And her father and fiancé are looking for her. Ben is supportive but Emma realizes the best course of action is to return home. That decision sets off a chain of events that ends up with her in an asylum and Ben fighting for her. Will he succeed?

I feel like this was two separate stories mushed into one. In fact, I would’ve started with Emma in the asylum and then let the story unfold. Like a mystery. Why do I think this? For a few reasons.

1. It would be less predictable. Honestly, from the moment Jarvis introduced this idea that Emma had “killed” Ben and blacked it out, I knew he would be fine. And I just spent the time waiting for him to come rescue her. It was inevitable.

2. The people in the asylum and their stories were really interesting. We spent such little time with them as the story is set up now.

3. It might have slowed down the romance. In that I mean that Emma and Ben’s relationship didn’t progress so quickly: one minute they’re civil, the next they can’t live without each other. It was like “Wait, what?”

Now, of course, I like my romances to burn slowly. To build up and get the reader invested so they want to root for the relationship. I felt that was lacking here. That the author went straight to “madly in love and having sex” a little too quick, in my opinion. And I believe it was so the author could get to the “struggling back to each other plot.” Which is another reason why I think the story would’ve benefited from being told in flashback as Emma languishes in the asylum. And made it so I wasn’t rooting for the doctor to fall in love with Emma as well.

Yes, I did that. I thought maybe Jarvis would surprise me and keep Ben dead. Have Emma start a new romance with the doctor instead. A second chance at love, as it were. But I did like what she did with the doctor in the end.

Would I read something by J.L. Jarvis again? Perhaps. I’ll see.

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