Black Inked Pearl

Black Inked Pearl

A Girl's Quest

Christian - Romance - General
322 Pages
Reviewed on 10/26/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

Wow! I just finished reading Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest by author Ruth Finnegan, and all I can say is "Wow!" It's written in a unique and creative style, one that at times blends poetry with prose. Follow the story of Kate, a girl from Ireland who falls in love with a mysterious man. She rejects him, which she soon regrets, and spends most of her life seeking him out. In telling her tale, we learn much about Kate's life, from her growing up years in Ireland to her schooling in a convent to her professional career. When she seeks out the man missing from her life, her journey takes her on an epic adventure that readers will not soon forget.

I very much enjoyed Black Inked Pearl. I have not read a book quite like it before, and coming from a person who is a voracious reader, that's not an easy feat. Author Ruth Finnegan has done a wonderful job in creating interesting characters, especially protagonist Kate, as well as realistic yet somehow ethereal settings that the reader will feel completely enveloped in. Her ability to switch between realism and poetry is enviable and beautiful at the same time. Any reader who enjoys a lovely, unique and interesting work of fiction should absolutely read Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest. I am pleased to recommend this book, and will be eagerly awaiting the next offering by author Ruth Finnegan. If it is anything like her debut novel, it will be simply magical!

Tracy Slowiak

In an inventive and intriguing read by debut author Ruth Finnegan, Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest, readers will be treated to a work that will lead them across the world and even to the gates of heaven. Kate, our protagonist, is an Irish girl who's fallen in love with a mysterious man. She sends him away in a moment of fear, but almost immediately regrets this decision and starts a search for him. The story takes us through Kate's history in Ireland, in a convent school, and as a professional, but also, fantastically, all the way to the gates of heaven and back again, following a beetle as a guide. In dream-like and poetic prose, this novel is one that will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page.

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest was certainly nothing if not an engaging and interesting read, if at times a challenging one. It's not challenging in a bad way, but a good way, in that it will keep the reader thinking, feeling and experiencing what the author wants to convey to her readers. I recommend this book to readers who are looking for a read that will keep their minds working and those who want to come away with a thought provoking message. Written with a strong Christian bent, Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest is certainly a worthwhile read, and author Ruth Finnegan is a newcomer to keep an eye on. Her unique style and voice will certainly not go undiscovered for long!

K.C. Finn

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest is a romance novel by author Ruth Finnegan that deals with Christian themes, lessons and ideology. The central heroine is Kate, a convent educated girl, whose insecurities lead her to reject the man she loves most passionately. When Kate regrets her decision, she embarks on a quest that takes her through both reality and dreamlike visions to recover her lost love. Shut out by the gates of Heaven even when she finds her beloved, Kate must find a new way into the Kingdom and suffer yet more trials and sacrifices before she can be forgiven for her mistakes.

Ruth Finnegan writes in a transcendent, stream of consciousness style which I found highly reminiscent of James Joyce throughout my reading experience. Black Inked Pearl is a highly literary work with many influences from classics and Biblical epics, interspersed with poetic verse, a riddling narrative and the promises made by God. There were some stumbling blocks in this style of storytelling which made the plot occasionally hard to follow, but Kate’s journey back to “him” was intriguing and beautifully described.

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest will prove a challenging read, but audiences interested in theology, philosophy and the redemptive nature of Christian faith are sure to find plenty to engage them here. Wild, strange and unpredictable, the tapestry of Kate’s suffering and tribulations kept me turning the pages, and overall I’d recommend the novel to readers who are searching for something truly unique to explore.

Rabia Tanveer

Black Inked Pearl by Ruth Finnegan is the story of how dreams become reality and reality takes a place in our dreams. I have studied a lot of styles and genres of literature. I specifically love African literature because it is so rich in culture and the way it is described. You cannot help but fall in love with the way the gods, the festivals, and the traditions are explained in these novels. I have also studied classic literature. Although a little ambiguous, classic literature has a great deal to offer, especially when it comes to the English language.

Ruth Finnegan’s novel sits in the middle of these two categories/genres. The story is about a woman’s quest to find the love that she rejected before. Kate, the protagonist, is an Irish girl who finds her lover at the brink of death and saves him. They are walking towards heaven when the guy leaves her behind in the dust and she is left outside heaven. He is searching for her and she is searching for him.

The novel was a beautiful mixture of both of these categories and genres. It was written beautifully. The dialogues and descriptions were almost lyrical and that only enhanced its beauty. It is not Shakespearean, it is more understandable. It is more potent because it speaks to you. You can understand what the author is saying, but at the same time you are left wondering, “Well, this could also mean…” Needless to say, this novel satisfied my inner literature student very much.

Janelle Fila

This book is a young girl’s fantasy, an epic mix of prose and poetry, inspiration and romance, traditional religion and fables and legends from other culture that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. It follows a lifetime of love for Irish character Kate. After she rejects her lover in a panic because of the intense emotions she feels, Kate spends the rest of her life searching for her lost love. This search is long and all encompassing. It takes her to many strange and poetic places: the kingdom of beasts, the city of London, a nursing home, the beautiful Donegal Sea, Eden, heaven and hell. Both she and her lover take turns rescuing and rejecting each other in an attempt to enter heaven and end their search for lost love. When the pair reconnects in heaven, the gates are shut on Kate and now it is his turn to search for her. Kate realizes throughout this journey that love for another is impossible to attain without first loving oneself.

This is a beautifully written poetic story that is very literary as it unfolds with gorgeous language and deep, dream like reflections that can touch a person straight to the soul. It is very profound and reflective. a dream, a poem, an adventure, a female version of the Odyssey, full of desire and despair, frustrating loss, beautiful prose and poems that move on the page. The first page of the opening chapter is a good example of the style the writer uses throughout the book. Many of the sentences are short and without verbs. The poems use punctuation and capitalization loosely. Repetition and alliteration are prevalent. There are interesting spelling takes on traditional words, inserting hyphens or apostrophes in place of letters. This book is very artsy and does not follow the traditional "rules" of a genre book, which some readers may have trouble following. But others will love the beauty within the language of this book

Lit Amri

As an amateur in the true sense of the word, I can say with just about credible authority that Ruth Finnegan’s Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest is a woman’s Odyssey. This is an enigmatic tale about love, rejection, regret, faith and self-discovery. With her poetic prose that frees itself from writing rules, Finnegan shares her story that originated from her dreams, reflecting her childhood in Ireland and its folklore, along with the literary inspiration of the African storytelling and Homeric insinuations.

“Storm, waves, seagulls crying (so should she have … ) her long black hair that he loved tossed and tangled in the wind, maybe that had confused her? Could she blame that (oh her hair, her hair, was not that part of her story … it seemed … somehow … and her nails, digging into her hand … ) His arms. In the mist. His head bending to her, his mouth ready to - NO!!”

The naive Irish girl Kate rejects her mysterious lover in panic, only to realize her mistake and spends her life seeking her lost love. This is an epic romance where readers are swept into a dreamlike and riddling tale of the lovers. Finnegan’s distinctive style consists of short sentences, alliteration, which later evolves to quotations and coined words such as ‘unwisdom’ and apostrophized spellings such as ‘loos’ning’. Not everyone can appreciate this form of literary work, but Finnegan proves that a story can be a beautiful work of art, and that is quite an eye-opening perception.

Romuald Dzemo

Ruth Finnegan’s Black Inked Pearl is an inspirational tale about love and self-conquest, and the lengths one girl would go to find a love that has been lost. Kate is just one ordinary Irish girl, educated in a convent and in a very traditional way, so brilliant she can “quote scripture and Greek and Latin plays in the original.” Kate’s life would have been very normal, but her confidence and sense of security are shattered when she becomes aware of the turbulent emotions of love welling deep within her. Refusing to admit this feeling, she abandons the love that could have made her life meaningful, but for how long?

For hearts that have loved and lost, what does it take to reconnect with the love of one’s life? In Black Inked Pearl, Ruth Finnegan leads readers in a quest for love that takes them to places, including archives of heaven, Eden, and Hell. Finnegan’s style is highly poetic and reminiscent of a waking consciousness, a style that plunges the reader into the frame of mind of the protagonist, vacillating between dream and wakefulness. Ruth Finnegan is a gifted writer who knows how to create a dream world for readers, and each line of her lyrical tale seems to open a door to a new dimension. Black Inked Pearl is a symbolic tale, one to be read sitting up; a highly entertaining work laced with humor, wit, and unusual intelligence. Finnegan’s compelling characters and their restless, desperate search for love and meaning will remind readers of the ache in their own hearts and this lonely place called dream.

Mamta Madhavan

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest by Ruth Finnegan revolves around Kate who is convent school educated and who goes in search of her lover whom she rejected initially. As the story progresses, readers see Kate going to different places in search of her lost love. Bordering on adventure, fantasy and whimsy, the author weaves a story that has many dimensions to it and also blends reality with the dream world and speaks about the concept of eternal love through Kate's story. Written in part prose and part poetry, the story and style of writing captures the essence of Kate's broken love, the lover who eludes her, and the search for the pearl.

The story is refreshingly original and different and the combination of reality and dream world gives it a mystical vibe laced with some spiritual undertones, making it an engaging novel. The writing style is also unique and unusual and the author's imagination and wit shines through the plot. The poems interspersed in the story complement the scenes and Kate's thoughts and feelings beautifully. The presentation of the story is elegant and shows the aesthetic and creative side of the author. The influence of many literary authors is evident in the style of writing and presentation of the plot.

The ambiguity and enigma in the story make it appealing to readers. The lyricism and cadence in the author's writing make it an entertaining read and she also captures the essence of Irish myths and landscapes.

Gisela Dixon

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest by Ruth Finnegan is a lyrical, hauntingly beautiful part-poetry, part-prose novel. Black Inked Pearl tells the story about a girl named Kate who is looking for her beloved, her soul mate, her lover. The story unfolds enigmatically and is written in a style that is unlike anything I have ever read. The closest it resembles is poetry, but there is prose and paragraphs interspersed throughout the novel that add to its “other-worldly” charm. Kate had an Irish upbringing and went to a convent school. She had once inadvertently rejected this lover, but has been searching for him since she realized her strong, overwhelming feelings for him. What follows is her journey (and his) as they meet, only to be separated again, meet again, with more separation, and so on until they both realize their goal. Her journey takes her to Eden, the gates of Heaven, and even Hell as we journey with her in her anguish, pain, ecstasy, knowledge, and love. In the end, the book transcends reality as we know it, where it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction, or indeed if anything is “fact.”

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest by Ruth Finnegan is a unique story and may be said to be open to interpretation by the person who reads it. I enjoyed the style of writing although I had a bit of a hard time grasping it at first. Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest basically tells a veiled version of the story in the Bible and definitely has Christian overtones and themes. Although the book is well written with a unique style, I would have liked less of a Christian theme, and more of just a story. That being said, I did enjoy reading this book.