Original Books

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Monday, May 17, 2010

America the Beautiful by Laura Hayden

Emily Benton's goal and purpose in life is to become the first female president of the United States. She will do whatever she needs to do and whatever it takes to accomplish this feat-ethical or not. Kate Rosen is her campaign manager and future chief of staff who wants to be working along side her friend when she accomplishes her goal. Yet sometimes the world of politics causes Kate to compromise her Christian faith-something she does not share with the presidential candidate. Kate struggles daily with under-the-table dealings and mud-slinging at opposing candidates. She knows these things are necessary to win, yet she does not feel comfortable doing such. Emily's campaign threatens to become more confusing as her ex-husband shows up working with the opposing candidate saying he's found God. Only God knows what the future has in store for them next...

Laura Hayden has breached a subject few authors dare to breach these days-politics. Good characters keep the book from complete mediocrity, since the plot is incredibly straightforward, like a quest. There are no twists and turns that affect the main characters, thus keeping this book off the Elite List.

Kate and Emily are both good characters, complete with personalities and imperfection. There are also a handful of other characters that are developed equally well. Though there was the potential to be a cheesy women-hater villain, Laura Hayden thankfully decided against this notion. There is no real villain; Emily Benton is more of a villain than any of the other characters, even though she is never punished for it.

And that brings us to this books' major problem-the plot. Definitely not a good thing to have as your book's biggest problem. Even though it is a believable political journey, Emily Benton is the only immune candidate in the race. Though she digs up things about the other candidates' pasts to use against them, nothing from her past is used against her, thus making for a predictable plot. The plot points are marked by each time Emily took out a candidate with her dirt. While it is good to have such an imperfect character, people like this are not immune to trouble.

The end of the book is predictable, but then again, Laura Hayden has started a series with this book, one that could not begin without America the Beautiful's predictable end. In short, Laura painted herself into a corner. We can only hope that the rest of the series is better than this opening novel.

All in all, Laura Hayden has potential as an author as long as she learns from her mistakes and writes the ultimate political plot with the series' next installment.

3 stars

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