Author: Katina Ferguson
Genre: Mystery/Drama Serial Novel Installment
Rating: 3.5 Stars
The New Plan, the first segment of a serial novel, introduces a realistic family with a hint of mystery.
Frank and Catherine's love is strong but not enough to keep the wearing effects of a busy schedule and three young children at bay. However, something else may threaten the stability of their routine lives.
The New Plan surprised me in that it was something I haven't seen all that commonly in the e-book scene as of late: a serial novel segment. A once common distribution strategy, serial novels have not, despite the rise of the internet become as common as one might expect. So, this segment cannot be evaluated in quite the same way I would normally discuss a book.
The novelette itself compromises the first four chapters of the novel. The bulk of the work introduces us to Frank, his wife Catherine, and their young children. As presented, the characters weren't particularly unusual. In fact, they come across as someone you might know--a nice, friendly family with a few personal flaws. They were well-developed, and I could easily relate to their motivations. Anyone with young children will probably have dealt with some of the exact scenarios presented as well.
In other details presented, such as aspects of Frank's daily routine, an even more fully-realized picture of a man whose life is still in transition was presented. After the four chapters, the reader is given a deep understanding of Frank's motivations in particular.
Though I liked the characters and could relate to them, the plot initially is not as clearly articulated as I would have liked. The result was reduced dramatic tension.
Initially, it seemed like the story was going to a somewhat leisurely paced drama exploring the explore the tension between personal dreams and responsibility, but a somewhat ambiguous cliffhanger ending changes the tone more toward a mystery. Whenever a cliffhanger, there's always a thin line between frustrating the reader and whetting the reader's appetite, but I think the author managed to keep enough on the right side of that line to encourage readers to buy the second segment that comes out at the end of July.