Thursday, May 08, 2008

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:

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


Jacquie Rogers said...

Nice review and sounds like a terrific book!


Gerri said...

Good review, Anne and Aaron! Sounds like a good story.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Jacquie and Gerri! It was a really fun read, even for an adult! Very magical. ;o)

annekimberly said...

Aaron, how can I say thank you for all your good advice, editing and most of all friendship? It is priceless to me and this pal is the better for having a friend named Aaron Lazar :)

Jacquie and Gerri! Highland Press is the best!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Awww, Kim. You're welcome. We've had some wonderful conversations, haven't we? Whether about our sons-in-law or gardens or house rennovations or books... we have fun!!

annekimberly said...

Hey, I want to promote another blog where Aaron is a contributing writer.

Here is a bit about it:
Whether your reading preference is for a throat-clenching thriller, a page turner crime/suspense, or a can't-put-it-down cozy, look no more. In Murder by 4 you'll be given an insider's look at the lives of four published authors; Aaron Paul Lazar, Kim Smith, Marta Stephens, and S. W. Vaughn who will introduce you to their unique styles and entertain you with their talents and diverse experiences.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Kim! Murder by 4 is a great place for readers and writers alike. Come on over!

Anonymous said...

Great Review! I am in the process of reading the book again! It is a story for all ages and allows you to emerse yourself in another world while feeling God's love. I highly recommend the books purchase. Way to go Anne!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks for stopping by, Katie!

Michele Ann Young said...

Great review, and a fascinating sounding book. The future adult readers (and therefore the future for authors who write for adults) is the current young adult audience. We need to nurture them in every way we can. Can't say enough good things about JKR did for books. They are also a tough group to write for so I admire you Anne.
Best wishes,

Jo Webnar said...

Anne, I have never met you, but after this interview and the other one, I feel like we are old friends. I have to find a YA just so I can buy Dark Well of Decision. It sounds like an awsome book!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous Book! This book reminds me of my own growing up, always struggling to make the correct decisions and to be accepted. Zoe faced many familiar & similar struggles like the ones that I faced when I was young, only mine had different names but the problems were the same. I lived this adventure with her. She finds the source of her strength, as I did. Boys can relate to this adventure as well as girls. Adults can understand the questions and respond to the correct answers also. I will be excited to read about the next adventures Zoe encounters with her new friends. Is it in the works Anne?

annekimberly said...

Hey Jo :) Looks like you standing by your boat! It sounds really interesting to me to live on a boat. Hey, Dark Well is a great book for adults, just ask my pal Aaron!

Thank you Michelle! Your very correct in saying that the young adults are our future adult readers. I vivdly remember some of the books I read as a YA and I still love them and those authors today :)

Thank you both for stopping by.

annekimberly said...

Hi Jeanne and thank you for the question. Yes, several sequels are in the works currently and if you sign up at my website; I will be sure to let you know when one becomes available. Thank you for your comment :)

Deborah Macgillivray said...

Young Adult is finding a new market and this is exciting. Good Luck with the book. It sounds exciting!

Rowena Cherry said...

What a great review. This sounds like a powerful and moving story, and I love the cover art, too.

Best of luck!

Rowena Cherry

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like an thought provoking read. Nice way to capture young minds and set them to work.

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like an thought provoking read. Nice way to capture young minds and set them to work.

Anonymous said...

The book sounds wonderful - I love magical stories! Good luck with it!
Victoria Bromley w/a Victoria Houseman

Elaine Littau said...

I met Anne though our books. We agreed to swap them and write a review for one another. When I started "Deep Well of Decision" I was glad it kept my interest. By the time I finished it, I loved the characters and the message within the pages. Adults as well as children will find this book fun and in the end they will learn something important.
Elaine Littau
Author of "Nan's Journey"