I read the ARC of Ravelled, the poignant debut novel by Seph Gannon, courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I especially appreciate the author’s decision to include, at the beginning, a guide to the correct pronunciation of names that are foreign to most English-speaking people. It is a wonderful story, with characters who step right off the page and into your heart. It kept me enthralled to the end, though it took quite a while to get there. The writing, however, needs a lot of work, and could be tightened up a bit.

This is the saga of the Beckenbauer family, who experienced numerous tragedies and hardships during, and after World War II, yet remained generous and loving to all people. The story opens with Hagen Beckenbauer boarding a train to travel from New Mexico to New Jersey to bury the body of his adopted brother and soulmate.

During the long trip, Hagen shares the story of his family with Emily, a railroad employee whom he hand-picked to hear his story, then help him write his memoir. Very gradually, his reasons for choosing Emily become evident. Some of the more pertinent information is doled out in tiny increments, but a savvy reader will figure it out before the author reveals it.

If you enjoy historical fiction, or multi-generational sagas, you will love Ravelled. Knowing I read an uncorrected proof copy, I am mentioning only some of the mistakes I found in this book. A good proofreader/editor should have found all of them. I would like to give it 5 stars, but because of the multiple errors (described below), I have assigned the book 4 stars.

What Made The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?

  • The Latin phrase, “et al” is used incorrectly;
  • The trade name “Jeep” is not capitalized;
  • There were many words that should have been hyphenated;
  • “God” is spelled correctly in some places, but in some dialogue, it is spelled as “G-d” – and there is no explanation for this;
  • There were 42 instances of unnecessary uses of the word “that”;
  • The word “further” was used in place of “farther” – in American English, they are not interchangeable;
  • Several instances of missing punctuation;
  • Multiple instances of incorrect verb tense: bring vs. take, brought vs. took, will vs. would, come vs. go, and was vs. were.

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