This review was originally published in www.outrageously wonderful.com. It is republished here with permission:
I love reading an author’s debut novel. There’s something about the storytelling and character development in that first book that captivates my heart. Something about the writing lets you know that this story has been planned and loved for quite some time. Jim Cole’s first novel, Never Cry Again, is a story that took 80 years to make it to print.
You see, Cole isn’t your typical debut novelist. By training and profession, he’s a civil/structural engineer whose work took him around the world. Upon retiring from engineering, Cole decided to fulfill his dreams of becoming a writer and took courses in creative writing. Over time he began writing columns for the Houston Chronicle and the Victoria Advocate, his hometown paper. Never Cry Again was published just months before Cole turned 81 years old.
The sheer fact that this novel exists is enough to make you never give up on your dreams. But don’t let this inspiration pass you by without picking up the book. In Never Cry Again, Cole will make you weep and cheer for the sweet and resilient main character, Drew.
Born into a family battling generations of abuse, Drew finds the good in the world, holds on to it and transforms his life. Son of an abused and battered mother and raised by a motley crew of prostitutes, housekeepers, church folk, teachers and neighbors, Drew’s optimism, determination and smarts help him escape the utter disaster that is his home life and start again.
As the Great Depression and World War II swirl around the characters, vivid pictures are painted of the world Drew lives in – from the urban centers to the rural Deep South. Cole is a descriptive and vibrant storyteller, delighting readers with his nuanced characters and detailed settings. You feel that you are not just reading a book, but walking alongside the characters, living the story with them. History buffs will particularly enjoy the way Cole weaves historical events into Drew’s life.
Never Cry Again is sure to break your heart and make you believe that you can overcome any odds.
Cole is such a vibrant storyteller that you finish the book wanting to know more about Drew. His adventures seem so lifelike that as you turn the last page you feel like you are saying goodbye to a friend. You will be encouraged to learn that Cole is already working on the sequel and dreaming up Drew’s next adventures. I can’t wait to see what happens next.