War in a Beautiful Country

Rated 5.00/5 based on 2 reviews
A quirky mystery for serious readers.
Because death is unknown, life becomes the puzzle.
In this contemporary novel, flawed protagonist Regina under appreciates her life until made aware of her own death by unpredictable bomb threats which suddenly arrive. in the mail.
This strange random danger forces her to find a new way to live. More
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About Patricia Ryan

Patricia Ryan is a published and produced author, playwright, and poet. She has written two novels, SKYLARK and WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, as well as a collection of short stories, CHANGES OF HEART. Patricia’s book, LIVING WITH THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE, a personal account, is included in the libraries of the Museum of the City of New York, The New York Historical Society, and the New York Public Library, among others. Her plays have been performed in New York City and are included in the archives of the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, and in Poet’s Theater: An Anthology of Recent Works (Ailanthus). Ms. Ryan’s poetry has been published in several poetry magazines and she is the author four poetry chapbooks, all included in the Poets House Collection, one of the most comprehensive poetry libraries in the United States. Her poetry has also been set to music and performed by theater and opera companies. STAR ON FIRE is a new anthology of 50 years of Ms. Ryan’s poetry. Her personal account of 9/11 is published by Doubleday in SEPTEMBER 11: AN ORAL HISTORY. It is included in the World Trade Center Memorial Archives. She lives in New York City.

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Reviews of War in a Beautiful Country by Patricia Ryan

Raven Robinson reviewed on May 23, 2021

Indie Reader Review!

Verdict: While it can move a bit slowly at times, WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY by Patricia Ryan is a deftly-written examination, filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe and the human experience.

Regina is a struggling artist trying to find fulfillment. When she begins to receive anonymous notes in the mail that threaten to kill her, her life is sent into a tailspin as she begins to contemplate her life and the very meaning of her existence. As the threat of danger looms, Regina’s strength and her relationships with those she cares about are tested.
In spite of the death threats Regina receives, this is not a fast-paced mystery, but rather a slowly winding journey through Regina’s mind. As the mysterious letters keep appearing, Regina becomes more and more anxious and reflective about her life and her choices. The novel often reads more like a study of Regina herself, with the plot being a secondary element that only serves to create conflict for the main character.
WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe. Author Patricia Ryan does a commendable job of diving into the minds of her characters. At times, however, the book seems like a vehicle for the author’s own musings about the world rather than a means of telling a story. Readers who are looking for a tightly woven plot might want to look elsewhere, but those who appreciate beautiful writing for its own sake will appreciate the novel. There are a few minor editing errors, but not enough to detract from the novel.
WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is not a typical mystery novel, focusing far more on human relationships and experiences than on unravelling the puzzle of who is sending Regina threatening messages. The characters are not overly developed, but this is an unexpected strength of the novel. Their interchangeable nature highlights the commonality of humanity, and is a reminder that everyone faces struggles in their lives. The book might disappoint readers who are looking for a fast-paced thriller, but those who appreciate philosophical reflection will be enamored with the story. Its eloquent prose and vivid descriptions outweigh its flaws, and its conclusion will have readers contemplating their own place in the world.
While it can move a bit slowly at times, WAR IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is a deftly-written examination, filled with lyrical writing and profound observations about the universe and the human experience.
(review of free book)
Rod Raglin reviewed on April 18, 2015

From concept, to presentation, to writing – original and compelling

As I write this review I’m quite pleased this novel has had little no recognition. I don’t say this out of spite. I say this because if something as good as War in a Beautiful Country (WBC) by Patricia Ryan can stay undiscovered than I don’t feel so bad about my books.

WBC is the work of genius – from concept, to presentation, to writing. My books in comparison are, well, let’s say I have something to aspire to.

It’s quirky, perceptive and funny. It’s poignant as well as enlightening, entertaining and original. It ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and covers a lot of the stuff in between.

The protagonist is Regina, a middle aged woman living in New York City. Regina begins getting surface mail from an anonymous person threatening to blow her up. The idea her life might end violently and without warning makes her examine her existence; her art, her relationships, her activities, her purpose.

WCB is wickedly funny and at the same time wise and worldly with fascinating insights on art and relationships. The prose is crisp and edgy, characters well developed and memorable. There’s powerful imagery and “shock and awe” metaphors.

Perfect? Not quite.

Ryan ignores quite a few writing conventions. It’s not uncommon to have three POV’s in one paragraph – two character’s and the narrator – it gets crowded and confusing.

She has some inventive ways of using punctuation including colons and combinations of question marks and exclamations marks!?!

Not infrequently, the rants by characters smack of author intrusion since they’re not consistent with the character’s personality and don’t advance the narrative. I forgave this because they are often so entertaining I didn’t really care.

Some might also consider the novel too introspective and lacking in action.

To best describe my reaction to this novel is to use the character, Regina’s own words on how she feels when she comes upon “the real thing in others.” Several times while reading this work I had “oh, my god!” moments. I am “staggered under the weight of Patricia Ryan’s talent”.

When God dispensed the Talent Dust, Ryan obviously got equal amounts of magenta (desire) and teal (ability). I was one of the many who got only magenta. Drat.

I downloaded this novel free from Smashwords as part of my commitment to review the work of independently published authors
(review of free book)
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