Secrets of the Red Box: by Vickie Hall
“Secrets of the Red Box was a great writing experience,” says Vickie Hall. “Getting into Bonnie’s head was challenging, but a lot of fun. Exploring Bonnie’s somewhat dark character allowed me to dig deep—really try to discover what made her act the way she did.”
“The reader doesn’t know what Bonnie’s running from, or what her secrets are until the very end of the book,” Hall says. “This creates a lot of tension in this psychological suspense. I wanted to hook the reader from the very beginning, and I think I’ve done that.”
Secrets of the Red Box is about the consequences of one woman’s unscrupulous choices and how lives are altered by them. It’s also about the redemptive power of love, and the part it can play in healing even the most broken soul.
“Making choices is what life is all about. Hopefully, we learn valuable lessons from those choices, even the ones with less than a perfect outcome. At least that’s the message I hope people take away from the story.”
Hall’s new book is set against the backdrop of 1940’s Omaha. Filled with unforgettable characters, fluid writing, and an unusual plot, Secrets of the Red Box is sure to keep readers guessing until the very end.
“Plenty of mysteries to keep readers reading! Well worth considering for your historical fiction collections.” The Midwest Book Review
“I was completely shocked by the last twenty-five pages of the novel. The conclusion is well worth waiting for in this story!” San Francisco Book Review
About the author: Raised in the states of Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Nebraska, Vickie has a great love of the outdoors and enjoys camping with her family. She’s also a composer and produced playwright.
Reviewed by Michala T.
I’ve not read many books that were based in the 40’s. I also don’t read a lot of books that have military backgrounds. Neither have ever really carried well when it came to what I am interested in reading. Still I will have to say this book captivated me from the very beginning. Bonnie, in the beginning, is running away from something and is looking to start anew. This is her story of finding a new life, always looking behind her and fearing the past will catch up with her. The story was intriguing and of course the secret of what was in the box kept me turning the pages.
The main protagonist, Bonnie, is a very questionable character in th beginning. I’m not sure whether she is meant to be that way because she is very uncertain of herself and the attributes of the character came out THAT well in the story or whether it was the writer just getting acclimated with the character herself. I say this because the further in I read the more solid I felt Bonnie’s character became. For example, in the beginning she seems as if she is running from danger, which by the end of the book I understood clearly, but it seemed early on that it was a ‘different’ kind of danger. I don’t want to say more otherwise…spoilers.
The various characters in the book were strong, very real to me. I was disappointed that one character in particular just disappeared without a word. It seemed wrong to me and although I felt the writer did try to bring some resemblance of closure regarding the issue it still irked me some. I think that was the one thing that really stood out about the entire story for me. (And it was such a small matter).
I felt mixed up a bit when the POV changed but it wasn’t anything serious and with so many books these days doing that I was able to right myself quickly enough to not get too jarred with the storyline.
Now…enough with the particulars that bugged me. On with the positive. I think the author has an amazing ability for details. She didn’t go so far overboard that the story became blah and mundane but she still was able to make the routine things and myriad of events come alive before my eyes. The words were easily read and she didn’t try to impress the reader by superfluous words. Instead she wrote with a remarkably smooth manner and added descriptions to each scene that really drew me in as if I was watching it on a screen. Very few writers that I’ve read can pull this off. Kudos to her! The plot was evenly paced and I didn’t find myself skipping paragraphs. I really cared about the characters (especially Irene).
I’ve read some reviews who wasn’t certain of the ending and I can understand their opinions. I however thought the ending could not have been better. It was realistic and I think if it had been anything else I would have been sorely disappointed with it. I was able to find enough closure while allowing me some room for imagination. I enjoyed it.
In fact the entire novel was unlike the seemingly ‘fan-based’ stories I often come across. This story was unique and creative; rich with details and vivid characters.
My personal verdict: 7.5/10