I was privileged to receive an advance reading copy of “The Auction” to review. Even more than is reflected in its rating, which earned an easy five stars, this is a very special novel.
Easily twice to three times the length of a typical example in its genre, Erishkigal’s initial foray into Sweet Romance avoids becoming ponderous. Rather, the richness of the experience, with masterful description, setting, and characterization, becomes luxuriant … the literary equivalent of a soaking bath with bubbles and candles.
The story of Adam Bristow, his daughter Pippa, and incoming tutor Rosie Xalbadora invokes shadows of Jane Eyre, with Erishkigal’s flair for complex story line and a rich supporting structure of subplot. Emotions encountered along the way are evoked honestly and diverse, as in the best and worst of what one experiences when outside the pages of such a masterfully crafted tale.
This is the story of a father, Adam, who will endure what he must for the sake of his daughter. Pippin, who escapes in fantasy as she can, is transfixed in a bitter custody dispute. Rosie finds herself thrust into their conflicts and hopes while she deals with managing her own, forced to remain at a distance under the roof of a man to whom she is increasingly attracted. Every character is distinct, emotive, and artfully presented. Instead of reading this novel, one experiences it from beginning to end, hanging on through wave after wave in an eddying current that builds to the roil of a tempest and from there to a perfect storm of emotion.
“The Auction” is satisfying, inspiring, heart-rending, and epic. You should grant yourself the pleasure of this read as a standard of comparison once you unwillingly reach “The End.”
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)