Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dark Well of Decision: Book Review

It's funny how we meet our online writing buddies. In the case of Anne Kimberly, she found me. She was interested in my agent's track record, and after discussing the pros and cons, we ended up being represented by the same lady for a while. During that time, we discovered a mutual passion for gardening, and Anne became my best online gardening buddy. Of course we helped edit each other's books, that was a natural progression. And even though young adult fantasy isn't my genre (you all know I'm a mystery buff!), I loved her story and would like to share my book review.

As an aside, Anne is an passionate kid and animal lover. She wrote this book for her granddaughter, Zoe. Anne lives in the Ohio countryside with her husband and huge dog Sophie, and has a gazillion chickens and all kinds of other fowl on her property. She also has redone her old farmhouse so beautifully - it ought to be in a magazine!

Anyway, without further ado, here's the review. Enjoy!


Title: Dark Well of Decision
Author: Anne Kimberly
Publisher: Highland Press
Genre: Young Adult, Christian fantasy
Publisher's Address:
ISBN-13: 978-0980035650
Price: $7.99
Publisher website address:

Dark Well of Decision
by Anne Kimberly
Review by Aaron Paul Lazar
Author of the LeGarde Mystery Series

Thirteen-year-old Zoe lives in the country on a beautiful farm and is kept company by her grandmother and two geese. When her chores are done, she’s given the freedom to roam the woods and fields and learns to love every aspect of nature. But Zoe doesn’t escape the usual trials of becoming a teenager. She questions her value as a young woman, feeling unattractive and comparing herself to the perfect and impossible standards seen on billboards and television. She tries hard to be a good person, helping her grandmother on the farm while her parents work hard at their respective jobs. Yet she can’t help question her grandmother’s unswerving faith.

Does God really exist? Does he know she’s suffering? Does he care?

Questions plaque the young lady at an alarming rate, in concert with the new hormones that race throughout her body, adding emotional highs and lows to her current state of confusion.

When she stops to peer down into an old well on her grandparents’ property, she sees a glimmer of something in the darkness that wasn’t there before. She looks harder, and harder… yet the vision isn’t clear. Finally, with all her concentration, she strains her eyes and focuses deep down in the well, and is immediately drawn through a tiny hole to the cold water at the bottom.

Crying out for God’s help after hours standing in the frigid water, Zoe almost gives up. No one hears her, and she fears all is lost. Yet after a particularly soulful plea to the Almighty, she spies a tiny balcony on the side of the well that she hadn’t seen earlier.

Thus begins Zoe’s magical adventure into the land of the Noachs, where she meets people from a miniature subterranean culture, including the kindly Kristo and Kitia and the lovable and brave guard dog, Areli. With their support, Zoe learns about their purpose in life and is granted an new respect for every tiny morsel nature prepares in the ground above. From a single currant berry to the soft down of a dandelion, her hosts use each gift from God with care and gratitude.

Zoe’s real test comes when faced with a “rescue” that swims before her eyes with great allure. A beautiful woman, a table laden with luscious feasts, the warmth of the sunshine, her grandparents’ farm…

But is it real? With great inner strength, Zoe recognizes the dangers of evil and restores her faith in God.

Anne Kimberly has written a magical tale that held the interest of this adult. Recommended as a book to read to young ones as well as perfectly suited for teenagers.


Aaron Paul Lazar lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, and cat. Recent "empty-nesters," Aaron and Dale have been fixing up their 1811 antique home after twenty-five years of kid and puppy wear. Daughters Jennifer, Melanie, and Allison live close by, and weekends now feature sleepover parties for grandsons Julian and Gordon.

Aaron works as an electrophotographic engineer at Eastman Kodak Company, in Rochester, New York, but his true passion lies in writing. While currently working on his thirteenth novel, he also enjoys gardening; cooking family feasts; photography, cross-country skiing, classical music, and French Impressionist art. Although he adored raising his delightful daughters, he finds grandfathering his “two little buddies” one of life's finest experiences.

In addition to receiving publishing contracts for Double Forte', Upstaged, Tremolo: cry of the loon, Mazurka, Healey's Cave, and One Potato, Blue Potato, Aaron writes "
Seedlings," a monthly column featured in the Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine (FMAM) and the literary newsletter "Voice in the Dark.". His short articles on writing have appeared in Absolute Write,and his short essay, "Word Paintings" was included in the 2007 Bylines Writers' Desk Calendar. Check out the Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine for the flash fiction piece, "Follow the Leader" and visit his blogs at and Aaron is the Saturday Writing Essential host on


Diana Raabe said...

It's interesting how you stretched yourself enough to read a new genre. It's not easy to do, but often (as the case here) well worth it!

Kim Smith said...

Thanks Aaron for sharing this review. I found it very helpful. I think Anne's book sounds fabulous and I have added it to my to-read list.

Anne, thank you for being a part of the MB4 family today!!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Dr and Kim!

Gerri said...

Aaron and Anne, great interview!

annekimberly said...

Thank you Aaron for the wonderful review and all your support. It was my honor to be part of the MB4 family for a day :)

annekimberly said...

Dr, I think its well worth it too! Kim, I would love for you to read it! Gerri, thank you for your comment and for stopping by ;)

Marta Stephens said...

I'm terribly late in posting my comment, but I have to tell you that I'm totally intrigued by this story. This is the type of book I used to love reading as a child—I could see myself getting lost in this one.

Aaron, Anne, this is a wonderful review. Thanks so much for posting it!

Ann, I hope you'll stop by and visit often!

Elaine Littau said...

I am always looking for ways to open up Truth to my grandsons. I found this book impressive in the texture of the characters and the complex problems of the "tween-age" life. Ann is a great storyteller and has a gift of weaving Truth into the pages of a fiction book. I know my grandsons will love this book as much as I do.
Elaine Littau
Author of "Nan's Journey"

Katie T said...

This is a read that is truly hard to put down once you begin. It's whimsical and beautifully detailed story, allows the reader to truly feel apart of the adventure. The salvation message is gently told in such a way to truly make the reader stop and think while feeling God's love. I am reading it for a second time and can't wait for the sequel!! I highly recommend for adolescent readers as well as adults.