Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews

So these were the reviews I got from the Amazon experts. I was a little demoralized when I checked the Quaterfinals List and my name was missing, you know how your heart is beating so fast and then it sinks to the bottom of your tummy? Anyway, I logged in to the back end, and the reviews made me feel somewhat better. The reviewers read the first 5000 words, which in the MS was the first 2 chapters, and it's heartening to read that they liked it, and saw potential.

1. ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The setting in Nigeria is the strongest aspect of this setting. Though several of the characters have spent time or are connected somehow to other regions, they all seem to be drawn back to Nigeria. I have heard of few books that are set in this country, and I'm willing to bet not many of those are romances. I feel that if this story explores Nigerian culture and history, the setting will prove a great asset.

What aspect needs the most work?

I don't read many romances in general, so I found the main romantic relationship hard to follow, especially because it was in the past. I could tell that there was a strong relationship at some point, especially since the couple had been engaged, but not many details are provided otherwise. Though these may be revealed later on, I would have liked to know them somewhat earlier on to get a better grasp of where the story is going.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I think this excerpt is as a whole pretty well done, even if the only large aspect that stands out to me is merely the setting. So far the characters are interesting and unique, and although I found it difficult to follow the history of the main romantic relationship, I did find myself wanting to know more about it and where it could possibly go. This story seems to have a lot of potential to confront some important issues; of course, this early on, I am unable to judge how well this is done, if at all.

2. ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

In this piece, I sense that many roadblocks to a relationship are going to be tackled...the strongest of which appears to be pride. According to each of the main characters, Efe and Kevwe, each was the victim of a breakup - which could prove to be interesting as the reader is given further detail on what actually happened. As the reader and the two characters sort that out, this could prove to create a high level of dramatic and romantic tension.

What aspect needs the most work?

As the story jumps around in time, and as conflicting information is given by each of the main characters as to what happened in the past, the reader spends much time trying to keep track of events, people, places and years.

The prose has an awkward flow. There are sentences that are too heavy with descriptive words, "Would definitely have taken a toll on her purse, and it would have been completely impossible to live there. The city was definitely not cheap and she frequently found..." - that's a LOT of adverbs. Or, "Efe flicked her nose (?) and cursed under her breath. First the stumbling, now she was mumbling." Why would she flick her nose and then there is the sound repetition. Or, "This last statement was made with the air of someone who’d just had his request handed over on a platter of gold." That just doesn't flow well - a professor had just announced he was leaving - he hadn't made any request.

As this story takes place in countries and cultures that may be unfamiliar to many readers, the prose needs to be clear and easy to understand so the reader has a foundation on which to grasp and understand new terms or customs.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I am curious about the character of Efe - she seems to be a young woman who has made different choices than her family might have expected. I would like to understand why she thinks Kevwe broke up with her and why he thinks the same of her - which is probably the basis for this rekindled romance.

These two characters seem interesting and the details the reader is gradually getting about them should make for a well paced romantic novel.


PS, so it was great being part of ABNA, and taking on board their comments, I'll work on another MS towards next year's contest. Meanwhile the MS with the above reviews was further professionally edited, and has now been published as A Love Rekindled. You can buy it on And you can sign on to help me publicize the book launch from March 31 - April 3 HERE