Home > fiction, novel, reviews > The Proviso: Moriah Jovan

The Proviso: Moriah Jovan

February 3, 2009

Religion Money Politics Sex

Knox Hilliard’s uncle killed his father to marry his mother and gain control of the family’s Fortune 100 company. Knox is set to inherit the company on his 40th birthday, provided he has a wife and heir, but he never really wanted it in the first place.

Now, after his bride is murdered on their wedding day and his backup bride poses such a threat to his uncle that he’s tried to kill her—twice—Knox refuses to fulfill The Proviso at all. Then he meets a woman he may not be able to resist long enough to keep her safe.

His cousin, notorious and eccentric financier Sebastian Taight, would have raided the company long ago to destroy the uncle he despises. For Knox’s sake, he did nothing—until their cousin Giselle barely escapes assassination. The gloves come off, but Sebastian may have jumped in too deep, as the SEC steps in, then Congress threatens to get involved.

Giselle Cox struggles under the weight of having exposed the affair that set her uncle’s plot in motion—twenty years ago. As Knox’s childhood sweetheart, she is also the most convenient way for Knox to inherit. Their uncle has twice tried to eliminate her, leaving her bankrupt and hoping to get through Knox’s 40th birthday alive.

None of them want the company, but two people have been murdered for it and Giselle is under constant threat because of it. What they want now is justice, but as embroiled as they are in their war, the last thing they expect to find on the battlefield is love.

The big problem with The Proviso (Tales of Dunham) wasn’t with errors in punctuation (although there are several, including a comma splice in the acknowledgements), but with a confusing narrative which is compounded by frequent errors in sentence construction. There are several instances where it isn’t clear who is carrying out the actions described; and there is a lot of repetition. On page three we’re told that valuables are cheap, which seems illogical; on that same page we’re told that the “collected gasp was palpable”, and on page eleven the outrage is described as palpable too.

This book runs to a staggering 696 printed pages, then the numbering begins again at one and goes up to twelve. I assume these twelve pages are from the sequel but it’s not made clear and it’s immaterial, as I’d found my fifteen errors before I’d read to the end of page nine.

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  1. February 3, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    The word cheap made perfect sense in context to me – life and valuables aren’t esteemed as highly as they once were. It seems an odd thing to pick on.For what it’s worth, my copy shows “collective” gasp on page 3. quick_type@yahoo.com

  2. February 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hm. FWIW, I found three punctuation errors when skimming the review itself (without my glasses), and darned if my copy doesn’t say “collective” gasp, as well.I’m thinking your problem might not be so much with finding errors in what you read, but in what you comprehend. . . No wonder 700 pages was a daunting task for you, poor dear!Obviously, tenure does not necessarily lend expertise.

  3. February 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I’ll check my copy, to see if it is “collective”: I apologise if I got that wrong, and will correct it–but regardless of whether the text uses the word collective or collected, the word palpable still appears on pages 3 and 5, and my criticism of that still stands. M. Campbell, I’d be grateful if you’d point out to me the three errors that you found so that I can correct them: although do be aware that if they’re part of the quoted copy, and appeared in the book, I’ll leave them as they are because if that’s the case they aren’t my errors, but Jovan’s. Before anyone else posts I’d like to point out that both of the above commenters found their way here from the same thread on the Rabble Rousers Coven site, where a link to this has been posted (Sitemeter is a wonderful thing). I’d like everyone else who arrives here from Rabble Rousers to remember that I don’t force anyone to submit their books to me: everyone who does so is well aware of the conditions under which I will review and if they’re not prepared to deal with a bad review, then they shouldn’t submit their book to me.

  4. February 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you for your time and the review; I’m grateful for both.I have no quarrel with anything you said, except the errors you specifically pointed out: “collected” is actually “collective” in the text and there is no comma splice in the acknowledgments.

  5. February 3, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    For what it’s worth, MJ didn’t say anything beyond saying a new review had been posted. I’m positive she appreciates your time and efforts. I took it upon myself to read the review (being interested in the process) and made my own comments because I was very surprised by the errors you actually mentioned. quick_type@yahoo.com

  6. February 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

    I have to say I see errors, too, and not in the quoted passages.There are several instances where it isn’t clear who is carrying out the actions described; and there is a lot of repetition.Why a semicolon?on that same page we’re told that the “collected gasp was palpable”, and on page eleven the outrage is described as palpable too.Punctuation inside the quotes, please. I know Chicago doesn’t think it’s necessarily important, but I also prefer a comma before that “too.”Seeing that you actually never seem to finish more than a handful of pages in any book, I have to say this seems more like an exercise in self aggrandizement than a legitimate opinion on anything. Guess the joke’s on the authors who were silly enough to submit something in the expectation of legitimate dialogue, eh?

  7. February 4, 2009 at 4:14 am

    If I quit reading every book that had errors in it or story flaws, I would have skipped books by top-selling, well-known authors. Some I soldiered through and ended up liking (“A Knight in Shining Armor,” Jude Devereaux), some I plowed through and realized I’d simply wasted the time it took to read it (“Stolen Blessings,” Lawrence Sanders). I’m sure I could add more to the list, but those are the two notables that come to mind.I think there’s a revolution coming with self published authors. What we’re going to see is less polished writing, but stories that are worth reading in spite of that. Who’s to say the filter of a “professional” editor or a publishing house is always a good one? I happen to love John Grisham and it makes me a little bit angry when I hear him tell the story of how he couldn’t get “A Time to Kill” accepted by a publisher. I think it’s a great story and well told and I have to wonder what else the publishing world doesn’t feel is good enough for me to read.Yes, I found errors in “The Proviso.” Yes, I had a few problems with the story line. But if you stopped reading at page 9, then you missed what is, in my opinion, the best part of the book: the characters. At the end of the book, I found I enjoyed reading it in spite of my problems with it.Quite simply, people who are readers, read. A compelling story and/or compelling characters can overcome what might drive an editor absolutely up the wall.I understand you review books voluntarily but since you leave comments open, I assume you are amenable to an open discussion.You can read my review of the book at juliew8.com.

  8. February 4, 2009 at 7:06 am

    So, I tried to comment earlier, but I must have had a word verification issue or something. I don’t really remember the typos in this book. I do remember the compelling characters, the layered philosophies, and the unique style. I do however see, how for some readers, what I view as popular dramatic fiction with an experimental edge, not wholly dissimilar from that of beat literature, might be misconstrued as ” a confusing narrative which is compounded by frequent errors in sentence construction.”Regardless of what your criteria is for reviewing on this blog, I’m certain when you get around to reading the entirety of this book, you’ll enjoy it and understand.

  9. February 4, 2009 at 7:36 am

    It seems to me clear that there is a general misunderstanding going on here concerning what the Self-Publishing Review is all about. I think an assumption is being made that the site’s purpose is to review books as literature (based on that “Review” in the blog title). That clearly is not the case since, by her own admission, almost never is a book or any significant portion of a book actually read by this reviewer. When the blogger states “What’s the catch? I’m an editor, and expect books to be polished. I’m going to count all the errors I find in spelling, punctuation and grammar and when I reach fifteen I’m going to stop reading” it’s clear to me that what’s being reviewed is not the books, but the editing, with the unstated agenda being that self-published books are poorly edited compared to books put out by standard publishing houses in the classic manner. I think a stronger case could have been made for that position a decade or more back when most books put out by publishing houses appeared to have been subjected to at least basically competent copy editing. In the past decade or two, though, I’ve seen books from the standard publishing houses simply littered with grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. The unwillingness to pay for competent copy editors, or perhaps an inability to find them, seems to be a problem that transcends the question of how a book is published.I do agree with JulieW8 that “Quite simply, people who are readers, read. A compelling story and/or compelling characters can overcome what might drive an editor absolutely up the wall.” If you are a reader, you need to look elsewhere for your book reviews. If you are an editor, though, this is clearly the blog for you. The blog title is Self-Publishing Review, not Self-Published Book Review, which does imply that it is the publishing process, not the books, being critiqued. However, the actual topic under discussion might be clearer if it were to be retitled something like the Self-Publishing Copy-Editing Review

  10. February 4, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Moriah Jovan wrote, “Thank you for your time and the review; I’m grateful for both.“I have no quarrel with anything you said, except the errors you specifically pointed out: “collected” is actually “collective” in the text and there is no comma splice in the acknowledgments.”Moriah, you’re welcome: and I’m sorry I couldn’t write a more positive review for you. I’ll bow my head before you in shame before you because you’re right, it is “collective” and not “collected”—but as my point was about the word “palpable”, this is somewhat of a tangent as it didn’t contribute to my error total. As for the acknowledgements, I disagree but will compromise. I’ll knock that one off the total, and give you one more: but I’m afraid I only got a couple more paragraphs down page nine before I found another problem with the text.Right. On to other people’s comments.“There are several instances where it isn’t clear who is carrying out the actions described; and there is a lot of repetition.“Why a semicolon?”Because those two clauses make up a list of issues that I had with the book; and semicolons are used to separate items in a list (do you see what I did there?).“on that same page we’re told that the “collected gasp was palpable”, and on page eleven the outrage is described as palpable too.“Punctuation inside the quotes, please. I know Chicago doesn’t think it’s necessarily important, but I also prefer a comma before that “too.””This one is down to regional differences: while keeping punctuation inside quotation marks is pretty standard in America, in the UK (where I live) the convention is to keep punctuation outside the quote-marks unless the punctuation was part of the original quotation—and in this case, the comma was mine. So outside it stays. While you might prefer to see a comma before “too”, I find that use a little archaic and as this is my blog, my standards apply: that one is down to personal taste, and it was erroneous of you to call it an error (that’s a neat wrap, isn’t it?). Now, you said there were three errors: where’s the third?“Seeing that you actually never seem to finish more than a handful of pages in any book, I have to say this seems more like an exercise in self aggrandizement than a legitimate opinion on anything. Guess the joke’s on the authors who were silly enough to submit something in the expectation of legitimate dialogue, eh?”For the purposes of this blog I’ve read one submitted book right to the end: I’ve not read the others right through, for the reasons I’ve given in their reviews. But as I’ve already pointed out, I’m clear about the standards I use when reviewing here and if you want to call your friend silly for submitting to me, that’s your decision.“If I quit reading every book that had errors in it or story flaws, I would have skipped books by top-selling, well-known authors. Some I soldiered through and ended up liking.”That might well be the case, but you seem to be missing the point of this blog. “I think there’s a revolution coming with self published authors. What we’re going to see is less polished writing, but stories that are worth reading in spite of that. Who’s to say the filter of a “professional” editor or a publishing house is always a good one?”The readers.“I happen to love John Grisham and it makes me a little bit angry when I hear him tell the story of how he couldn’t get “A Time to Kill” accepted by a publisher.”John Grisham’s first novel was published by a small but perfectly respectable publisher: the myth that he self-published it has been perpetuated by people with an interest in promoting self-publishing, but that doesn’t make it true. If you check out his website you’ll find his confirmation of this. “Yes, I found errors in “The Proviso.” Yes, I had a few problems with the story line. But if you stopped reading at page 9, then you missed what is, in my opinion, the best part of the book: the characters. At the end of the book, I found I enjoyed reading it in spite of my problems with it.”Again, you’re missing the point of this blog. “I understand you review books voluntarily but since you leave comments open, I assume you are amenable to an open discussion.”I welcome it. But I prefer informed debate to sneering and name-calling, which is what some of the comments here have amounted to.“I don’t really remember the typos in this book. I do remember the compelling characters, the layered philosophies, and the unique style. I do however see, how for some readers, what I view as popular dramatic fiction with an experimental edge, not wholly dissimilar from that of beat literature, might be misconstrued as ” a confusing narrative which is compounded by frequent errors in sentence construction.””I saw nothing of the complexity that you describe in this book, but I’m glad you got something out of it. I found it confusing and unclear, and am convinced that it was because of poor writing rather than an intentional experimental style. “Regardless of what your criteria is for reviewing on this blog, I’m certain when you get around to reading the entirety of this book, you’ll enjoy it and understand.”I’m not going to read any more of it: I’ve dipped into it in several places now, and have seen no improvement in the writing at any point. I’m confident that I know the difference between a text which is inadvertently confusing and one which is intentionally complex (Danielewski’s House of Leaves is a good example of complex experimental fiction, and I managed to read that one all the way through so I can’t be too dense): this book, I’m afraid, falls into that former category.Finally, onto M. Sherwood’s comments. I’m afraid that he or she seems to be confused about what copy editing means: most of the errors that I’ve picked up, both in this book and other self-published titles that I’ve read (such as a lack of clarity in the text, and a more general confusion) would have been corrected by a good line edit. Line editors deal with structure and development and precede copy editors in a book’s production, who are more concerned with eliminating typos, and errors in punctuation and fact. Most paid-for editorial services deal mostly with copy editing despite their claims to the contrary: so even self-published books which have had a paid-for, “professional” edit are likely to exhibit the sort of flaws I’ve detailed here. As for Sherwood’s interpretation of my aims and intentions here: they’re incorrect. I want to find self-published books which can hold their own against mainstream-published titles. So far, the evidence I’ve seen shows that they can’t. I might well blog about some of the points raised in this discussion in my publishing blog (there’s a link on the front page), and that might be a better forum for us to discuss the relative merits of self-publication and commercial publication: it’s a huge topic, and this isn’t really the forum for it. I’ve got a lot of work on right now, so can’t promise a post in the next few days: but when I do go ahead with it I’ll comment here again, so you all know to come over and join in if you want to.

  11. February 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    “Finally, onto M. Sherwood’s comments. I’m afraid that he or she seems to be confused about what copy editing means: most of the errors that I’ve picked up, both in this book and other self-published titles that I’ve read (such as a lack of clarity in the text, and a more general confusion) would have been corrected by a good line edit. Line editors deal with structure and development and precede copy editors in a book’s production, who are more concerned with eliminating typos, and errors in punctuation and fact.”M. Sherwood is cognizant of the difference between line editing and copy editing. It was your statement “I’m going to count all the errors I find in spelling, punctuation and grammar and when I reach fifteen I’m going to stop reading” that led to the impression your concern was more with copy editing than line editing when doing your “reviews”. That was reinforced by the fact most of the discussion here seems to be focused on copy editing issues.However, I will now insert my own disclaimer. In the same spirit as your own winnow-the-slush-pile approach to writing reviews here, I read only part of one entry when forming my opinion regarding the entire contents of your blog. This seemed to me to be a time-saving approach which was entirely in keeping with your own method of reading only a few pages of a book before writing a review of the entire work. 🙂

  12. February 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    And again, M Sherwood misses the point. Bless him.Moriah, while you’ve behaved with dignity and restraint here, the behaviour of some of your supporters has been less admirable. It’s really not going to help your reputation if this happens whenever you’re reviewed in a less than favourable light.

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